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Somalia

• The worst drought in 60 years • 3.7 million at risk of starvation, most of them are women and children • Famine declared in several regions, tens of thousands have died • 3 million are displaced in camps • Urgently needed interventions are: food aid, water, nutrition and medicine

Contributions to the OIC Humanitarian Campaign for Somalia may be made at the following accounts: Account Name: OIC General Secretariat Bank: SAMBA Financial Group, Al-Andalus Street, Jeddah Account Number: 5600758 IBAN: SA 29 4000 0000 0000 0560 0758 SWIFT: SAMBSARI Account Name: OIC-Humanitarian Coordination Office Somalia Bank DAHABSHIL BANK INTERNATIONAL Place Du 27 J Uin, Djibouti Account Number 101593 SWIFT Code DBISDJJ2 Corresponding Bank Noor Islamic Bank, Dubai-UAE SWIFT Code NISLAEAD Turkish Lira account Bank: Ziraat Bankası, Beşiktaş Şubesi, Istanbul Bank Branch: code (529) IBAN: TR 620001000 5295 745 740 15001 Account No: 57457401 5001 Opened in the name of: Islam Tarih Sanat ve Kultur Arastırma Merkezi (IRCICA) Turkish US$ account Bank: Ziraat Bankası, Beşiktaş Şubesi, Istanbul Bank Branch: code (529) IBAN: TR 350001000 5295 745 740 15002 Account No: 57457401 5002 Opened in the name of: Islam Tarih Sanat ve Kultur Arastırma Merkezi (IRCICA) Turkish EURO account Bank: Ziraat Bankası, Beşiktaş Şubesi, Istanbul Bank Branch: code (529) IBAN: TR 08000 1000 5295 745740 15003 Account No: 57457401 5003 Opened in the name of: Islam Tarih Sanat ve Kultur Arastırma Merkezi (IRCICA) To join the OIC Alliance to relieve Somalia: OIC Humanitarian Affairs Department (ICHAD) Focal Point: Mr. Saidi Kasajja, Email: kasaja@oic-oci.org  Telephone: 9665222-651-2-, Ext-1402. Fax: 9662288-651-2-. OIC Humanitarian Coordination Office, Somalia Focal Point: Mr. Ahmed Adam, E-Mail:  info@oic-somalia.org. Telephone: 2522800-093-.  Fax: 2520400-093-.

About OIC The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents. The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world. It endeavors to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various peoples of the world. Originally named The Organization of the Islamic Conference, it was established pursuant a decision adopted by the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, on 12th Rajab 1389 AH/ 25 September 1969 AD, following the criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem. In 1970, the first ever meeting of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Minister (ICFM) was held in Jeddah. It adopted the decision to establish a permanent secretariat in Jeddah headed by the organization's secretary general. Prof Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is the 9th Secretary General who assumed office in January 2005 after being elected by the 31st ICFM Session. The first OIC Charter was adopted by the 3rd ICFM Session held in 1972. The Charter was amended to keep pace with the developments that have unraveled recently across the world. The 11th Islamic Summit held in Dakar in March 2008 endorsed the new Charter, which has become the pillar of the OIC future Islamic action in line with the requirements of the 21st century. The new Charter provides for the dissemination and safeguard of Islamic teachings and values based on moderation and tolerance, as well as the need to strive for the projection and defense of the true image of Islam. The new Charter also called for encouraging inter-civilizational and interfaith dialogue. Over the last 40 years, the OIC membership has grown from its founding members of 30 to 57 states. In 2011 in Astana, Khazakhstan, the 38th Council of Foreign Ministers endorsed changing the emblem and name to Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The Organization has the singular honor of galvanizing the Ummah into a unified voice and representing Muslims by espousing all causes close to the hearts of over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. The Organization has consultative and cooperative relations with the UN and other inter-governmental organizations to protect the vital interests of the Muslims and to work for the settlement of conflicts and disputes involving Member States. In safeguarding the true values of Islam and Muslims, the organization has taken various steps to remove misperceptions and have strongly advocated elimination of discrimination against Muslims in all forms and manifestations. It has also engaged in fighting Islamophobia by setting up a dedicated observatory to track and monitor the phenomenon and its disturbing manifestations The Member States of the OIC face many challenges in the 21st century. To address these challenges, the 3rd Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Summit held in Makkah in December 2005, laid down a blue print called the Ten-Year Program of Action (TYPOA) which envisages joint action by the Member States, promotion of tolerance and moderation, modernization, extensive reforms in all spheres of activities including science and technology, education, and development of trade. It also emphasizes good governance and the promotion of human rights in the Muslim world, especially with regard to the children's and women's rights as well as family values enshrined in Islamic Shariah [law]. One of the outstanding achievements since the adoption of the Ten-Year Programme of Action (TYPOA) has been the recent reinvigoration and restructuring of the various OIC bodies. Among the OIC's key bodies the Islamic Summit, the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), the General Secretariat, in addition to the Al-Quds Committee chaired by the king of the Kingdom of Morocco, as Al-Quds remains the paramount issue on the OIC's agenda, and three permanent committees, one of which is concerned with science and technology (COMSTECH) that is chaired by the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the second committee is concerned with economy and trade (COMCEC) which is chaired by the President of the Republic of Turkey, while the third one is concerned with information and culture (COMIAC) which is chaired by the President of Senegal. The OIC has subsidiary organs, notably Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for the Islamic Countries (SESRIC), the Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) and the Islamic Center for the development of Trade (ICDT). Other specialized organs operating under the OIC include the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO). There are also affiliated organs such as the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and the Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS). The OIC subsidiary, affiliated and specialized organs play a vital role in boosting cooperation in various fields among the OIC Member States. For more details, visit the OIC website at www.oic-oci.org


OUR MESSAGE

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu OIC Secretary General

Solidarity, tolerance, unity In the words of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, host of the Fourth Extraordinary Islamic Summit held in Makkah on 1415- August, “solidarity, tolerance, moderation and unity… are the best solution to our problems.” Indeed, they are; and they are the goals of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in achieving stability, security and development for the Muslim Ummah. But words are easier said than done. The challenge is how to reach those goals and achieve our objectives. King Abdullah suggested a groundbreaking proposal, which was endorsed by all the Muslim leaders at the Summit, to establish a dialogue center for Islamic schools of thought in order to help Muslims reach common understanding and mutual respect. Surely, it is a commendable idea that will go a long way towards uniting Muslims and removing misconceptions. It is an idea along the lines of the previous proposal by King Abdullah of establishing an interfaith dialogue center, which is now a reality in Vienna, Austria, that will promote tolerance, respect and peaceful co-existence among the followers of religions. Sectarian discord is a malaise and a serious threat to Muslims, which in the past few decades has reached catastrophic proportions with its mind poisoning tentacles and aggression fueling rhetoric. We hope that the proposed center and all other efforts at addressing this cancer and containing, if not ending, its proliferation in the Muslim community, succeed. However, we should not ignore the festering threat of Islamophobia not only to Muslims but also to the international community at large. Meanwhile, other challenges – conflicts, poverty, food insecurity, underdevelopment, etc. – also need concrete proposals and solemn attention from the Muslim leaders. With our abundant resources – natural, human, intellectual, financial – I am certain that if we are united and integrated, we can easily overcome those challenges. The Summit addressed the disturbing, conscious jolting and urgent situations in specific countries, namely, Palestine, Syria, Mali and the Sahel region, and Myanmar. However, it also made specific references to issues of reform in the OIC member states, countering intolerance and extremism, and improving the economic, science and technology fields, and, very significantly, education. I wish to stress that we require economic growth and scientific progress as much as we require stability and security. Nations survive by meeting the basic needs of their people, but they develop and prosper by meeting their people’s aspirations, including for human rights, good governance and exceptional, rather than mediocre, accomplishments in all fields.


OIC Journal

A WORD

Issued by The Organization of Islamic Cooperation

Refugees in the Muslim world: A growing crisis

Editor - in - Chief Isam Salim Shanti General Supervisor & Managing Editor Maha Mostafa Akeel Editors Ahmed Salem Abdelhamid Salhi Layout & Design Mohammed Abdelqader Qalaba Advisory Board Ali Abolhassani Shahreza Hasan Oker Gurler Address: Madinah Road, P.O. Box 178, Jeddah-21411 Saudi Arabia Tel: 6515222 Fax: 6512288 Telx.: 601366 Islami SJ. Website: www.oic-oci.org For comments, enquiries and advertisement E-mail: journal@oic-oci.org OIC Permanent Observer to the UN New York Office 320 East - 51st Street New York 10022 New York - U.S.A. www.oicun.org oic@un.int OIC Permanent Observer to the UN Geneva Office ICC-20 Route Pre-BoisCase Postal 1818 CH 1215 Geneve - SUISSE www.oic-un.org oic@oic - un.org

The issue of Muslim refugees is very serious with wide ramifications and consequences. Today, OIC member states are grappling with conflict-induced displacement in the Sahel, the Middle East- particularly Syria and along the Sudan’s southern border- and large-scale flight in the Horn of Africa. This issue of the OIC Journal features a special report on refugees in the Muslim world. On May 11- 12 ,2012, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) coorganized a timely and significant international ministerial conference in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on refugees in the Muslim world. The main objective of the Conference was to highlight the plight of refugees hosted by OIC member states and mobilize greater international support to these refugee situations. The 57 member states of the OIC host over 50% of the persons of concern to UNHCR (comprising refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs, returnees and stateless persons), a total of 17.6 million. In fact, the proportion of refugees in the Muslim world is much higher, some 68%, when one adds the Palestinian refugees (5 million) under the mandate of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA). More than 80% of refugees remain within their own regions of origin, often in developing countries already struggling to meet the needs of their own citizens. Greater recognition and support to refugee-hosting states is needed through effective burden sharing to provide them with the means to shoulder their responsibility, both in the emergency response phase and through the collective pursuit of durable solutions. This solidarity may take the form of development activities in refugee-hosting areas or providing essential services and job opportunities in countries of origin to ensure that reintegration is sustainable. Burden sharing should also include the provision of increased resettlement opportunities.

The views expressed by the writers/ authors of the articles published in OIC Journal do not necessarily represent the

The issue of refugees is an international problem that goes beyond state or even continental borders and its solutions require solidarity of the international community while cooperating with all sovereign countries concerned.

views of the OIC, but are the personal views

of

However,

the

authors

OIC

reserves

themselves. the

right/

discretion to amend, revise, edit, delete or scrutinize any part or portion of the text as and wherever deemed necessary.

Maha M. Akeel


World Affairs Kabul Conference agree on follow up elements to Istanbul Process

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OIC calls on Thai Government to intensify its efforts in solving conflict in the South

27

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus seeks the support of OIC Member States

34

OIC welcomes Kosovo’s application for membership

35

Culture OIC Human Rights Commission finalizes its Rules of Procedure

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Niamey: the 2012 Capital of Islamic Culture for the African region

51

4th Extraordinary Islamic Summit focuses on enhancing solidarity

4 Special Report on Refugees in the Muslim world

13

Environment

5th Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers adopts the Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development

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OIC establishes Media Forum

Economy Establishment of US$ 1 billion Islamic Mega Bank

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OIC Related Links

OIC Calendar: September – November 2012

Subsidiary Organs

7 - 8 September: 34th Meeting of the Board of the SESRIC – Ankara,

The International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) www.fiqhacademy.org The Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Center for Islamic

Turkey.

Countries (SESRIC) www.sesrtcic.org

13 - 18 September: 20th Session of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy

The Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture

– Oran, Algeria.

(IRCICA) www.ircica.org The Islamic Center for the Development of Trade (CIDC) www.icdt-oic.org The Islamic University of Technology (UIT) www.iutoic-dhaka.edu Specialized Institutions and Organs

13 - 15 September: 1st Halal Exhibition Products – Meknes, Morocco. 16 - 20 September: Tehran International Congress on the Features, Characteristics and Cultural and Economic Contribution of Arts and

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) www.isdb.org

Handicrafts – Tehran, Iran.

International Islamic News Agency (IINA) www.islamicnews.org.sa

27 September - 4 October:

The Islamic States Broadcasting Organization (ISBO) www.isboo.org The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Rabat (ISESCO)www.isesco.org.ma Affiliated Institutions

Parachuting Championship for Islamic

Countries – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 29 September -1 October: 1st Meeting of the National Organizations for Civil Registration – Tehran, Iran.

Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) www.icci-oic.org

3 - 4 October: 18th Session of the Executive Committee of the Islamic

Organization of Islamic Capitals and Cities (OICC) www.oicc.org

Solidarity Sports Federation – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Organization of the Islamic Shipowners Association (OISA) www.oisaonline.com World Federation of Arab Islamic International Schools (WFAIS) www.wfais.org Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation

8 - 11 October: 28th Session of COMCEC – Istanbul, Turkey. 15 - 17 November: 39th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) – Djibouti, Djibouti.

(ICYF-DC) www.icyf.com

20 - 22 November: 6th Islamic Conference of Higher Education and

Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) www.ias-worldwide.org

Scientific Research Ministers – Khartoum, Sudan.


IN FOCUS

The Fourth Extraordinary Islamic Summit

Establishes a center for dialogue

Makkah, Saudi Arabia – At a time when the Islamic world is encountering unprecedented threats and strife, internally and externally, the Muslim leaders responded to the call by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, for a summit in the holy city of Makkah, during the holy month of Ramadan, to unite their ranks and face the challenges. Within that framework, the Fourth Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Summit Conference welcomed the speech of King Abdullah bin Abdualziz in which he proposed to establish a centre for dialogue among Islamic schools of thought to reach a common understanding. The two-day (14-15 August 2012) Summit held under the theme “Promotion of Islamic Solidarity”, adopted three documents: the Makkah Pact, the Final Communiqué and the Summit Resolutions. The Communiqué welcomed establishment of the centre for dialogue among Islamic schools of thought, to be based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and its members appointed by the Islamic Summit Conference upon recommendation from the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Council of Foreign Ministers.

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focuses on enhancing Islamic solidarity

among Islamic schools of thought “Solidarity, tolerance, moderation and unity in the face of those attempting to cause prejudice to our religion and unity are indeed the best solution to our problems,” said King Abdullah in his opening address to the Summit. “If we establish fairness, we will route injustice; if we promote moderation, we will eradicate extremism; and if we shun dissention, we will preserve our unity, strength and resolve.” The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques entreated the Muslim leaders to live up to their responsibility, be worth of it, and uphold the right. Hence, he suggested the establishment of a center for dialogue among Islamic schools of thought to unite their ranks.

Makkah Pact on the Promotion of Islamic Solidarity:

In the Makkah Pact, the Kings, Presidents and Amirs of the States and Governments of the Members of the OIC point to the dangerous and distressing situation of the Islamic world today. They stressed on the need to formulate plans and programs that ensure the Ummah’s advancement and the recovery of its solidarity in order to enable it to meet the challenges that it faces. Hence, they stated that this will be achieved only by overcoming their weaknesses and recovering their latent sources of strength through a joint endeavor to set the Ummah once again on the right path in accordance with the principles and methods advocated by Islam.

Ihsanoglu: Makkah Summit is a pause for reflection at a moment of truth before Allah and history

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said that Makkah Summit “is a pause for reflection at a moment of truth, before Allah and history, when the Ummah look up to their leaders to rise up to their historic responsibility to overcome these difficult circumstances”. In his statement at the Opening Session of the Islamic Summit on 14 August 2012, Ihsanoglu stressed that the Muslim world was going through the most difficult period in its contemporary history since the end of the First World War. He also observed that the awakening and aspiration of peoples for dignity and good governance, under which their interest would come first and they would be served by the leaders, and the clear wish of the masses not to live outside the context of history, have all brought about a change in the balance of power and resulted in unusual agitations. Ihsanoglu pointed out that it has become clear that the Muslim world cannot just continue on its current path, at a time when duty requires it to be one of the active pioneers. He added that as continuation of the implementation of the TenYear Program of Action adopted by the Third Extraordinary Summit in Makkah in 2005 and out of his generous endeavor to unite the efforts and solidarity of Muslims, the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques wishes to strengthen the notions

that underpin joint Islamic action by focusing on the issue of Islamic solidarity. Ihsanoglu stated that the preparatory meeting held in Jeddah at the level of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs made recommendations on the issues to be presented to the Summit. These resolutions will determine OIC policy directions for months to come. On another note, the Secretary General said that the Custodian of the Two holy Mosques gave instructions for the launching of the construction of OIC’s permanent headquarter in Jeddah, as a generous gift from King Abdullah to the Islamic Ummah and the OIC. Ihsanoglu expressed his gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for this royal bestowment.

OIC and Saudi Arabia sign the Headquarters Agreement

The OIC Secretary General Ihsanouglu and His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz Bin Abullah, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, signed the Headquarters Agreement for the OIC on 13 August 2012. The Agreement constitutes a legal framework that regulates the relation between the host country (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and the OIC, and defines the privileges and obligations of both parties.

Final Communiqué

The Final Communiqué of the Conference affirmed its solidarity with and full support of the Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Jammu and Kashmir, Iraq, Yemen, Cote d’Ivoire, the Union of Comoros and the Turkish Republic of Cyprus in addressing their challenges. The Conference also condemns Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan and calls for Armenia’s withdrawal from Azerbaijan’s territories.

Reform:

The Conference stressed that reform and development is a renewed and on-going process and that it is the exclusive obligation of the members of the Ummah to set up scientific and practical plans and programs guided by Allah’s Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet to ensure the Ummah’s progress and eminent standing. It called upon Member States to take the necessary measures to avoid kindling strife and intolerance among Islamic communities. According to the Communiqué, there is a need to combat corruption and protect human rights in accordance with the principles of justice and dignity. Citizens should also participate in the management of the affairs of the Ummah and pave the way for the establishment of civil society institutions to help rulers achieve the objective of the reform and development of Islamic society.

Countering intolerance and extremism:

The Conference reaffirmed that Islam is a religion of moderation and openness, which rejects all forms of 5


IN FOCUS intolerance, extremism and introversion and, in this connection, In the economic and social field: underscores the importance of countering any dissemination The Conference declared that the documents entitled or propagation of aberrant ideology with all means available. “Making Cooperation Work: the COMCEC Strategy for It called for developing educational curricula in such a way as Building an Interdependent Islamic World” and the “amended to inculcate the true Islamic values of mutual understanding, Statute and Rules of Procedures of the COMCEC” are tolerance, dialogue and pluralism, and for establishing bridges adopted. between the members of the Islamic Ummah to enhance unity The Conference called for an increase in the capital of the and solidarity through the holding of symposia and conferences Islamic Development Bank to enable it to meet the needs of that would explain these values. Member States, and reaffirmed the vital role played by the The Conference also called for combating extremism private sector in development. disguised as religion and doctrine, refraining from declaring The Conference emphasized the need for cooperation in followers of other Islamic schools of thought as disbelievers capacity building, the fight against poverty and unemployment, and deepening dialogue between these schools to promote literacy, eradicating diseases and mobilizing the necessary moderation and tolerance. resources therefore. It called upon the Islamic Development The Conference also emphasized the importance Bank to consider the establishment of a special fund for this of concerted international efforts to combat terrorism purpose at the Bank and to mandate the Bank’s Board of and commended the considerable efforts exerted by the Governors to follow up on this matter. Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in establishing The Conference also called for promoting and revitalizing the International Centre for Combating Terrorism under cooperation among the OIC Member States for achieving United Nations auspice. The Conference likewise emphasized agricultural and industrial development, leading to food the need to differentiate between terrorism and legitimate security. resistance to foreign occupation, which does not justify Furthermore, the Conference supported development shedding the blood of innocent civilians. in Africa and the NEPAD initiative, and decided to promote The Conference underscored the need for collective specific programs in this regard. The Conference also action to highlight the real image of Islam and its lofty values, encouraged initiatives by Member States to promote economic counter the phenomenon of Islamophobia. It stressed the cooperation with other Member States and with the least need to actively engage with States as well as regional and developed and low- income OIC Member States. international institutions and organizations and to urge them On Science and Technology: to combat this phenomenon and not to use the freedom of The Conference decided to adopt clearly defined measures expression as a pretext to abuse religions. to promote scientific and technological development and The Conference also emphasized the need to respect innovation and higher education, in particular, self-sufficiency cultural and religious diversity, peaceful coexistence and the in fields such as the peaceful use of technology under the aegis importance of continued international cooperation against of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with a view incitement to hatred and intolerance. In this connection, it to supporting sustainable development in the OIC Member welcomed the adoption of the Human Rights Council, by States. The Conference expressed support to the activities consensus, of its historic Resolution 16/18 on “Combating of the Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and Cooperation (COMSTECH), the Science, Technology and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against Innovation Organization, and the OIC Scholarship Program persons based on religion or belief”, which constitutes a giant aimed at improving the quality of education in the OIC step towards respect for cultural pluralism. Member States.

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Summit Resolutions: Some of the main resolutions adopted by the Summit On Palestine and Al-Quds:

• Decides to adopt the multi-sectoral strategic plan on Al-Quds, which was adopted during the 38th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers as a framework for determining the priorities of Islamic financing for the City of Al Quds. Calls on Member States to support the needs of Al-Quds, its institutions and people in line with this strategic plan and to support the projects included therein; and mandates the General Secretariat to follow up the implementation of this plan in coordination with the State of Palestine. • Urges the Member States to support the ongoing diplomatic efforts to expand the scope of recognition of the State of Palestine within the pre1967 borders in order to promote the efforts aimed at realizing the independence of the State of Palestine, with Al-Quds as its capital, its UN full membership, and at enabling it to enjoy its natural and rightful position within the international community. Calls on all Member States to support the resolutions on the Palestinian cause in the UN, including the resolutions on Al-Quds Al-Shareef, and promote international efforts aimed at compelling Israel, the occupying power, to respect its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and the human rights law.

On Syria:

• Welcomes the United Nations General Assembly resolution of 3 August 2012 on the situation in Syria, which strongly condemned the continued, widespread and systematic violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities, the use of force against civilians, and arbitrary assassination, killing and oppression. In this regard, calls for the commencement of immediate implementation of the transitional phase plan and the development of a peaceful mechanism that would allow building a new Syrian State based on pluralism, democratic and civilian system where there would be an equality on the basis of law, citizenship and fundamental freedoms. • Decides to suspend Syria’s membership in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and all its organs. • Calls on the Security Council to assume fully its responsibility by stopping the ongoing violence and bloodshed in Syria and finding a peaceful and lasting solution to the Syrian crisis.

On the Rohingya Muslims community in Myanmar decides to:

• Adopt the recommendations of the Executive Committee meeting, held on 5 August 2012, including holding a special session of the Human Rights Council and setting up an OIC contact group to consider the issue of the Rohingya Muslims. • Mandate the OIC Group in New York to submit a draft resolution on the Rohingya Muslims to the meeting of the UN General Assembly at its upcoming 67th session. • Urge all member and non-member States and local and international NGOs to provide necessary and urgent humanitarian aid to the Rohingya people, and to help them overcome the critical humanitarian crisis, in coordination with the OIC. The Conference commends the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for donating the amount of US$50 million as humanitarian assistance to Rohingya Muslims. • Mandate the OIC Secretary General to appoint a special envoy.

On situation in Mali and the Sahel:

• Reiterates its full solidarity with the transitional national unity Government and urges all Member States to provide the needed support and assistance to help it achieve its objectives. • Expresses deep concern at the humanitarian tragedy in Mali and the Sahel Region and mandates the Secretary General to take the necessary measures to mobilize the needed resources in order to help overcome the difficulties confronting the hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people in Mali and neighboring countries. • Requests the Secretary General to appoint a Special Envoy for Mali and the Sahel region.

Gift of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,

OIC new headquarters

7


OPINION Makkah Summit: Another Qualitative Leap by the OIC Dr. Isam Salim Shanti Chief Editor

The Fourth Extraordinary Islamic Summit, which was held in Makkah Al-Mukarramah on August 14 – 15, 2012, is another qualitative leap by the OIC towards Islamic solidarity, especially in the context of the potential challenges facing it. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz who called for this summit under the umbrella of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) clearly defined and announced this objective when he called it the “Islamic Solidarity Summit.� This summit is actually the second extraordinary Islamic one in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, convened by King Abdullah. The 3rd extraordinary summit, held in December 2005, was an unprecedented meeting that called for Muslim unity and solidarity. It was the summit that called for moderation, modernization and tolerance and expressed its strong rejection of religious extremism and terrorism. The positions of all leaders then were united in their call to combat terrorism, defend the image of Islam, and called for a specific and practical strategy to combat Islamophobia. To deliver these objectives and many other political, economic, and cultural objectives, the Ten-Years Programme of Action (TYPOA) resulted in the 3rd extraordinary summit with a clear vision and mechanisms to achieve these strategic objectives for the benefit of all Muslim peoples and Muslim states. Since then the OIC, with the support of its member states, has witnessed real structural and functional changes, which enabled it to execute regional and global policies. The OIC adopted a new charter the qualified it to meet globally dramatic changes and at all levels, witnessed the birth of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, established humanitarian department, set up an Islamophobia monitor, opened several regional and international offices, and dealt with many other issues related to science and technology, information, cultural issues, and made serious successes in the field of international relations. The 4th emergency summit, however, came to complement the previous one and to re-emphasize on the urgency to strengthening unity and cooperation among Muslims, putting an end to divisions, addressing major crises facing the Muslim World. For example, the Palestine Question and the OIC role to support the Palestinian Authority in its request to attain a full-State membership at the United Nations; the bloody and an on-going crisis in Syria; and the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Being the second largest political and diplomatic organization after the United Nations and the house of all Muslims the OIC was once more in the forefront of the world stage seeking the 8

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objectives of enhancing and consolidating the bonds of fraternity and solidarity among the Muslim states and safeguarding their common interests, protecting and defending the true image of Islam, encouraging dialogue among civilizations and religions, and strengthening intra-Islamic economic and trade cooperation. After all, the OIC is the collective voice of the Muslim World and with its different institutions it is the sole official political body that ensures to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world with the objective of promoting international peace and harmony around the world. In this context, Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary General of the OIC, announced before the leaders of the Muslim world in 4th extraordinary summit that there is an urgency to take into account the dramatic changes in the Muslim world and the world at large. He stated that the Muslim world is going through the most difficult period in its contemporary history since the end of the First World War, and that the Muslim world is witnessing an awakening and demands by the Muslim peoples for dignity and good governance, and a clear wish not to live outside the context of history. Professor Ihsanoglu added that it has become clear that the Muslim world cannot continue on its current path, thus it should be one of the active pioneers and drivers of the course of events of our time. This is a message that clearly reflects the vision of OIC for the coming years in which the OIC will witness further affirmative role at the international arena. Looking at both outcomes of the 3rd and 4th extraordinary summits one can notice the degree of change that has occurred to the OIC in terms of vision, strategy, and action in the one hand, and to the importance and inevitable role that the OIC has been performing since 2005 for the benefit of the Muslim world and the international community. It is the change that will need the continued support at all levels by all of its member states in order to enable it to continue delivering the aspired objectives defined in the text and spirit of all OIC relevant resolutions. Over and above, the OIC in this historic summit witnessed three important and new outcomes: the birth of the Dialogue Center for the Schools of Thought, an important initiative announced by King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz; signing the OIC Headquarters agreement with Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; and signing the agreement for constructing the new OIC Headquarters in Jeddah City, a generous gift by King Abdullah for the OIC. In conclusion, the 4th extraordinary summit was historical in terms of its timing, place, context, and results. The timing of this summit concurred with dramatic events and changes witnessed by many Muslim states as a result of mainly the Arab Spring as well as the suffering of the Rohingya Muslims. And the summit was held in the holiest place for all Muslims around the world, Makkah Al-Mukarramah, in the context of international and regional developments that might have great impact on the interests of the Muslim world. The results of the summit were materialized in the form of relevant and official resolutions and positions to the various regional and international events. The mission of the OIC has never been an easy one. It is a mission that deals with multi-facet and complex issues that would require time, remarkable efforts and all kind of supports by its Member States. An objective gaze at and a judgment of the OIC, particularly since 2005, would recognize the accumulative but dramatic and qualitative leap in the work of OIC at all levels to deliver the aspired results.


PALESTINE FILE

UN: Gaza not ‘liveable’ by 2020 A Palestinian refugee filling water from a UN water station in Al-Shabora refugee camp in Rafah City (epa)

ground.” Aside from its tunnel network, Gaza imports via Israel. UN figures show, for example, that 46,500 tones of building materials came into Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel in September 2011, while 90,000 tones came via the tunnels. It also gets electricity and fuel from Israel. Rebuilding homes and factories smashed in the winter war of 2009 is Gaza’s biggest task, and construction is the source of most of its growth in employment in the past two years. Gaylard said Gaza needs peace and security to improve the lives of its people. “It will certainly have to mean the end of blockade, the end of isolation and the end of conflict.”

Water could be undrinkable by 2016:

A lack of clean drinking water is the greatest immediate concern, said Jean Gough of the UNICEF. The report projects Gaza, Palestine – Gaza will no longer be “liveable” by a 60 percent increase in the enclave’s water needs, while urgent 2020 unless urgent action is taken to improve water supply, action is already needed to protect existing water resources. By 2016, Gaza’s aquifer may become unusable, she said. power, health, and schooling, according to the United Nations’ Palestinians are already drilling deeper and deeper to reach recent report on the Palestinian enclave. “Action needs to be taken now if Gaza is to be a liveable groundwater and there is a need for more desalination plants. place in 2020 and it is already difficult now,” said UN A seawater plant costing about $350 million is planned. The UN says only a quarter of Gaza wastewater is treated. humanitarian coordinator Maxwell Gaylard. The rest, including raw sewage, goes into the Mediterranean Five years into an Israeli blockade, and living under oneSea. party rule, Gaza’s population of 1.6 million is set to rise by Furthermore, polluted water in the Gaza Strip is seriously 500,000 over the next eight years, say the authors of the UN’s affecting people’s health and the situation looks set to get most wide-ranging report on the territory. worse. Action needs to be taken right now on fundamental aspects Clean water is limited for most Gazans to an average of of life: water sanitation, electricity, education, health and other 70-90 liters per person per day, compared to the minimum aspects,” Gaylard said. global World Health Organization (WHO) standard of 100 Gaza has no airport and no seaport. The border is tense, liters a day, according to Mahmud Daher, officer-in-charge of with frequent clashes over rocket or mortar fire from Gaza and the WHO in Gaza. air strikes by Israel. According to UNICEF, diseases associated with water Israel partly eased restrictions in mid-2010, and Gaza’s account for about 26 percent of diseases in Gaza. Nitrate crippled economy began to revive from rock bottom. Real GDP contamination of the aquifer is believed to be a threat to infants is estimated to have risen by 28 percent in the first half of 2011 and pregnant women, says UNICEF. Diarrhea, which has as unemployment fell to 28 percent in 2011 from 37 percent. become very common in the Gaza Strip, is most likely linked But the report, involving expertise from more UN agencies to poor hygiene standards in enterprises, which desalinate and making projections further into the future than before, said water. growth over the next eight years would be slow, since Gaza’s An average of 160 million cubic meters (mcm) of water current isolation renders its economy essentially non-viable. is taken from the aquifer per year, but it is only fed with 50The people in the narrow coastal strip live mainly on UN 60 mcm from rainfall and water-runoff from the Hebron Hills aid, foreign funding and a tunnel economy, which brings in every year, resulting in a huge gap between availability and food, construction materials, electronics and cars from Egypt. usage. Consequently, ground water levels have been falling, But the smuggling trade is no solution. Robert Turner, director allowing seawater intrusion. of operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency Meanwhile, the report projects demand for water of 260 (UNRWA), said Gaza by 2020 will need 440 more schools, mcm in 2020, an increase of about 60 percent from today. 800 more hospital beds and over a 1,000 additional doctors. Efforts are under way to improve the situation through Gaylard called on international donors to increase their aid desalination of seawater, which would decrease the amount to a population, which is 80 percent aid dependent. “Despite of water that needs to be extracted from the aquifer, while their best efforts the Palestinians in Gaza still need help,” he providing cleaner drinking water. said. “They are under blockade. They are under occupation Funding for the short-term goal is partly provided by the and they need our help both politically and practically on the Islamic Development Bank and the European Union. 9


PALESTINE FILE

Pledges of $65 million for the health sector in Gaza Cairo, Egypt – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has collected $65 million support for the health sector in the Gaza Strip. The funds will be distributed among health service providers in Gaza to ease the crisis besetting the sector, Assistant Secretary General of Humanitarian Affairs at the OIC Atta Al-Manan Bakhit said at the end of the OIC Conference on the Health Situation in Gaza held in Cairo on 29 April 2012. Donated by several Islamic organizations, $15 million dollars will be delivered immediately in order to meet the basic needs of medical facilities, Bakhit said. A Palestinian representative at the “Gaza 2012” conference said the sector requires $60 million to get out of the immediate crisis. Severe fuel shortages in the blockaded coastal strip in recent months further disrupted the struggling health profession, which faces deficits of medical supplies and functioning equipment. Representatives from Malaysian, Saudi Arabian, Egyptian and British Islamic groups attended the conference on Gaza’s health sector. The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has commended the important role played by the Saudi National Campaign to

Assist Palestine and its contribution in ensuring the success of the Conference. Participants in the conference pledged medical assistance and radical solutions to the health problems in Gaza, with a cost of more than US$ 65 million. The Secretary General described the pledge of the Saudi National Campaign to donate US$15 million as a reflection of the spirit of mutual assistance and cooperation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has encouraged other participating states and organizations to pledge. Ihsanoglu described the Saudi National Campaign initiative in favor of the health sector in Gaza and part of Saudi Arabia’s service of the causes of the Islamic Ummah, in general, and of the Palestinian cause, in particular. Saudi Arabia donated another $1.8 million worth of humanitarian gift to enable the OIC to execute urgent health projects and meet the pressing needs of Palestinian hospitals, which are currently lacking many necessary medications. Ihsanoglu stated that the gift reflects the size of the major and ongoing humanitarian support the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia gives to the Palestinian people. The total assistance given by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque’s Campaign has reached $53 million comprising the building of health centers, equipping of dialysis centers and provision of drugs and medical equipment.

Hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails brings attention to human rights abuses An agreement ending a 28-day mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners was signed by the Israeli Prison Service and the Higher Committee for Prisoners, in the presence of the Egyptian mediator on May 15. The Palestinian prisoners’ mass hunger strike, which began on 17 April (a day that Palestinians commemorate as Prisoners’ Day), was a heartfelt outcry against the arbitrary punishments and gross human rights abuses that the Israeli Prison Service routinely carries out against the prisoners. Although Israeli officials and Palestinians gave different numbers of hunger strikers, it was still one of the largest prison protests in years. It involved a quarter to a half of all Palestinians held in Israeli jails, estimated at some 4,600 people. The reasons for their detentions range from throwing stones to killing civilians in attacks. Most of them began refusing food on April 17, but a smaller core have been striking longer, from periods of time ranging from 40 to almost 70 days. These prisoners were placed under medical supervision as their conditions worsened. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had launched an appeal to international Human Rights organizations and to the concerned international civil society bodies to apply international law and intervene urgently to impress upon Israel 10

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to respond to the humanitarian demands of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention camps. The Palestinian prisoners were observing an open hunger-strike in protest against the deteriorated conditions of their captivity and the ill-treatment they are subjected to, in terms of torture, humiliation, isolation deprivation of the right to visits from family members, to the pursuance of their secondary and university studies, and to medical care. The Secretary General called for the release of the Palestinian detainees, noting that Israel continues to be the only state in the world that legitimizes administrative detention without any charge and continues to hold under-age political detainees in its prisons. It is a fact that makes it incumbent upon the international community to intervene and put an end to these gross violations of human rights perpetrated by an occupying state. The signed agreement on paper appeared to acquiesce to the three main demands of the prisoners: an end to administrative detention (where a person is detained without any charges brought against him or her, with detention subject to indefinite renewal); the release of 19 prisoners from solitary confinement; and respecting the internationally-recognized right to family visits for the prisoners from Gaza, who haven’t seen their families since 2007 — a form of collective punishment imposed after the capture of an Israeli soldier.


Al-Makassed Charitable Society needs financial support Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), received in his office a delegation from Al-Makassed Islamic Charitable Society in Al-Quds that included Dr. Arafat Hidmi, Chairman, and Yahya ar-Rifaei, Head of Public Relations. Jamal Al-Shobaki, Ambassador of the State of Palestine and its Permanent Representative at the OIC attended the meeting. The delegation commended the efforts of the Secretary General in supporting the city of Al-Quds and the Palestinian institutions that operate there and briefed the Secretary General on the latest developments in Al-Quds in addition

to the financial situation of Al-Makassed Islamic Charitable Society. On his part, the Secretary General expressed his appreciation of Al-Makassed Islamic Charitable Society for the health services it provides to the Palestinian citizens and asserted his keenness that it continues and develops its performance. However, Ihsanoglu indicated his concern over the financial hardship the Society going through and reaffirmed he would redouble his efforts and contacts to fulfill the requirements of the Society.

The Vatican stresses its respect for the agreement with Palestinians

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu renewed in June his apprehensions concerning the agreement that the Holy See in the Vatican is negotiating with Israel regarding the economic, financial and real estate properties of the Catholic Church in Palestine. He affirmed at the same time the OIC’s continued contacts in this regard with a number of international parties to secure the Vatican’s upholding of its principled commitment on the

mater. The Vatican had sent a letter in May to the Secretary General stressing its respect for the agreement made with the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 2000, which defines the regulating and strengthening of activities by the Catholic Church in Palestine. This was in light of Israel’s efforts to sign an agreement with the Vatican giving it the right to supervise Christian properties in Palestine.

Ihsanoglu commends France's position on Palestinian State Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has commended the statement of the French President Francois Hollande in the joint press conference he held with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on 8 June 2012. In particular, he commended France’s readiness to exert all efforts possible to facilitate the negotiation process, which would lead to peace and recognition of the Palestinian state along the 1967 border, and his emphasis that France has consistently called for a freezing of settlement. The Secretary General also praised the progress in the PalestinianFrench relations and France’s support for the budget of the

UNESCO lists Church of Nativity as World Heritage Site

Palestinian National Authority as well as its contribution in support of development in the occupied Palestinian territories. Ihsanoglu had sent a congratulatory letter to Hollande on his election as president. He expressed his hope that the new French leadership would continue to work with its other partners in the European Union to achieve peace in the Middle East based on resolutions of international legitimacy. Hollande replied in a letter in which he stressed his willingness to work with the OIC and noted that he is cognizant of the weight and importance of the Islamic countries and expressed his wish to strengthen relations with the OIC. The UNESCO on 29 June 2012 declared the Church of Nativity endangered World Heritage site (epa)

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has welcomed the inclusion of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem among World Heritage Sites during the meeting of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in St Petersburg, Russia. He described this move as an important achievement for the preservation of heritage and historical sites in Palestine and for their protection against instruments of destruction, which the Israeli occupation practices constitute. The Secretary General extended gratitude to all Member States that voted in favor of the resolution and commended the efforts deployed by OIC Member States in this regard. 11


PALESTINE FILE

Christian exodus from the Holy Land: Time to stop the demographic hemorrhage Dr. Shaher Awawdeh

Dept. of Palestine & Al-Quds, OIC

Recent Israeli attacks on Christian holy sites have brought to the fore the status of Palestinian Christians. Amongst the important features that received special focus by several commentators has been the Christian demographic aspect. The focus was mainly on the decrease in the number of Christians living in the Holy Land. Although the term Palestinian would widely imply a Muslim citizen, the existence of Palestinian Christians dates back to the early days of Christianity. It should be borne in mind that Palestine is the birthplace of Christianity where Jesus was born and resurrected, as the Christian belief goes. Therefore, Palestinian Christians, although a small minority, are indigenous to the Palestinian land and society. Notwithstanding their small proportion of the Palestinian population, Christians have contributed significantly to the Palestinian Arab national movement, society, economy, history and culture. During the inter-war era, the Christian population lived in Galilee in the north, particularly in the immediate vicinity of Nazareth, and the coastal towns of Acre, Haifa, Jaffa, and Gaza. At the same time, Jerusalem, being the capital city of mandatory Palestine (1917-48), attracted more Palestinian Christians because of the relatively good level of security and economic opportunities available for the middle class, which included a good proportion of the Palestinian Christians. Towns on the suburbs of Jerusalem such as Bethlehem, Beit Sahur, Beit Jala and Ramallah continued to be Christian-populated. The termination of the British mandate and the 1948 war impacted the Christian population significantly. Just like their Palestinian Muslim fellows, Christians fled the coastal towns and abandoned their prosperous neighborhoods in West Jerusalem to neighboring countries, mainly Jordan and Lebanon. Nevertheless, political uncertainty prompted a good number of them to migrate to Europe, Australia in addition to the Americas.

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Unfortunately, exact figures about Christian immigration from the Holy Land remain scarce. These days, the Christian community, clergy and laity alike, are challenged with the sad reality of the considerable decline in Christian demography. Whilst the Christian community made up around 10% of Mandate Palestine during the 1920s, recent estimates put the figure around 3%. Several Palestinian Christian leaders argue that there are no comprehensive, reliable and up-todate resources about the exact number of the Palestinian Christians living in the Holy Land. Nevertheless, the shrinking of the Palestinian Christian community could be attributed to a number of factors. Low birth rate explains part of the problem. A comparative review of birth rates in Palestine reveals that Christian families have the lowest birth rate when compared to other religious groups: A Muslim family: 3.84, a Jewish family: 2.88, Druze: 2.49, Christian: 2.18. Migration constitutes another key factor that could explain the significant drop in the Christian population during the past decades. Reasons that prompt Christians to migrate are diverse. Factors such as economic hardship and political uncertainty are amongst the important reasons that have prompted a number of Christians to migrate. Most importantly, Israeli policies constitute key factors that led to Christian demographic hemorrhage. Given the pressing necessity for addressing the housing needs of Palestinians, especially in East Jerusalem, Israel’s confiscation of properties of churches have stripped the Church of sizable real estate that could be utilized for housing projects for different Christian denominations. By the same token, Israeli onslaughts on Christian monasteries, monks, and church properties have increased recently, posing thus a serious challenge to both religious identity and personal security. For example, several Palestinian Christian leaders considered vandalizing the Latrun Monastery, west of Jerusalem, by fanatic Israeli settlers on 4 September 2012 as another Israeli attempt to force Christians to leave the country. It goes without saying that the shrinking of Palestinian Christians can never be impact-free for the entire Palestinian community. It is something that should not be overlooked by Palestinian policymakers, lawmakers, community and religious leaders. It has bearings on numerous walks of life in Palestine. We should keep in mind that the wellbeing of the Christian component of Palestinian society is definitely to the benefit of the just Palestinian cause. It maximizes the Palestinian ability to defend their cause. Therefore, addressing the decline in the Palestinian Christian community should be at the heart of a national Palestinian policy.


SPECIAL REPORT

Afghan children at a temporary refugee shelter on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan (epa)

First Ministerial-level Conference on Muslim Refugees

Efforts to Promote Voluntary Repatriation and Durable Solutions

Maha Akeel Ashgabat, Turkmenistan – The International Ministerial Conference on Refugees in the Muslim World called for political resolve to double international efforts to promote voluntary repatriation of refugees, implement durable solutions and address the root cause. The Conference was organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in coordination with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Government of Turkmenistan. The Conference held on May 11-12, 2012 was the first ministerial-level conference exclusively focusing on the refugee situation in the Muslim world and other related issues. It highlighted the continued generous hospitality and assistance extended by OIC Member States to refugees and asylum-seekers, many of whom have been hosted in large numbers over a long period of time. Its main themes were UNHCR’s role in enhancing refugee protection in OIC Member States; multilateral cooperation, including burden and responsibility sharing to protect and assist refugees; and voluntary repatriation, as the most preferred durable solution for any refugee situation. With the participation of 40 OIC member states in the Conference and a number of non-member states, international organizations and NGOs, the issue of refugees received the attention it deserves, especially that more than 50% of world refugees are hosted or exported by OIC Member States

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov opened the Conference with the attendance of the OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. In his opening speech, President Berdymukhamedov called on the participants to find real solutions and international cooperation on the issue of refugees pointing out that insecurity and instability as well as economic crises are among the reasons for the forced immigration of refugees. A legal obligation and a moral, religious duty The Secretary General of the OIC said at the Conference that it is a landmark event in the search for solutions to problems of true humanitarian nature. To this end, he reiterated OIC commitment to a strategic partnership with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and its continued and effective cooperation. With over 17 million refugees and displaced persons within the OIC member countries, including some protracted refugee situations, the OIC Secretary General said that efforts should tirelessly continue to address these refugee and displacement situations, with provision of assistance and protection, as the case may be, in a humanitarian effort. Meanwhile, Ihsanoglu referred to providing asylum, protecting refugees and assisting them in compassion and conviction are fundamental pillars in our Islamic faith. Therefore, assisting and protecting refugees, irrespective of 13


An aerial view of a massive IDP camp in Mogadishu, Somalia (epa)

their faith, color or ethnic origin, is not only a legal obligation, “Just as Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan are forging a but also a moral and a religious duty as stipulated in these common vision and approach, there are other opportunities for teachings and embodied in deeds throughout history within a structured dialogue to promote solutions in other protracted the Muslim World. The idea of protecting “Almustamin” or refugee situations in the Muslim world,” he said. asylum seeker was never compromised in these teachings and The High Commissioner also urged those OIC countries practices. that have not already done so to accede to the 1951 UN “There is total compatibility between refugee principles in Refugee Convention – which forms the legal foundation on Islam and those of our modern day international refugee law,” which UNHCR’s work is based – and its 1967 Protocol. said Ihsanoglu. Addressing the root causes: The Secretary General stressed that the issue of refugees The Conference recognizes the social and humanitarian is an international problem that goes beyond state or even dimensions of the problem of refugees, and the need for continental borders and its solutions require solidarity of the addressing its root causes, and urges the international international community while cooperating with all sovereign community to make efforts to prevent this problem from governments concerned. becoming a source of tension. Ihsanoglu pointed out that the refugee situations continue The participants expressed their deep concern that too to be products of intolerance, xenophobia, injustice, denial of many refugee situations in the OIC countries have become basic rights, conflict over resources domestically or across state protracted and sought sustained and profound engagement of borders and instances of foreign intervention. Accordingly, he the international community to resolve these refugee situations. stressed that root causes need to be addressed consciously, They also noted the need to work with the UNHCR and other objectively and systematically. “Standards should therefore UN actors, as appropriate, to resolve refugees’ plight and be set without subjective variations, while addressing these realize durable solutions consistent with international law and problems.” relevant UN General Assembly resolutions. In addition, they Speaking of refugees in the Muslim world it was recognized the need to redouble efforts to address the root necessary to underscore the plight and injustice to which causes of refugee situations in accordance with international the Palestinian refugees continue to be subjected to. “Their law, while respecting the sovereignty of Member States. situation, being the most protracted situation of refugees in Palestinian refugees: the world since the late 1940s, remained unresolved and their Regarding the Palestinian refugees (5 million based on rights continue to be usurped unless a political settlement is figures provided by UNRWA), the conference reaffirmed the concluded within the UN resolutions and the Arab League resolutions of the OIC concerning the Palestine cause and the Initiative, guaranteeing their legitimate rights,” said Ihsanoglu. Arab Israeli conflict. It stressed the need to resolve the issue Islamic principles and international refugee laws: of Palestinian refugees in accordance with international law In his address, Guterres urged Islamic nations to take long- and relevant international legitimacy resolutions, particularly standing principles of providing asylum and enshrine them in General Assembly Resolution 194 and the Arab initiative. national legislation “Islamic law and traditions embrace the The participants also reiterated that the United Nations Relief principle of providing protection to those who seek asylum.” and Works Agency (UNRWA) embodies the international “It also forbids the forced return of those asylum-seekers. responsibility towards Palestinian refugees as mandated Both of these principles are cornerstones of international by the United Nations General Assembly. They called on refugee law,” he added the international community and the OIC Member States to Guterres pointed to conflicts affecting OIC members in respond to the appeal of UNRWA and enhance their support. North Africa, the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and along Voluntary repatriation: the Sudan-South Sudan border. He also drew attention to a The participants reaffirmed that voluntary repatriation regional solutions strategy agreed between Afghanistan, Iran remains the most preferred solution to refugee situations, and and Pakistan and UNHCR to address the Afghan refugee called upon countries of origin, countries of asylum, UNHCR situation as a recent success. and the international community as a whole to work together 14

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SPECIAL REPORT : MUSLIM REFUGEES to do everything possible to enable refugees to exercise their right to return to their home. In this context, they called for political resolve to double international efforts to promote voluntary repatriation. However, the conference noted with deep concern a large gap existing between global resettlement needs and places as well as the adoption of selective resettlement criteria. It encouraged resettlement countries to undertake effective, flexible and non-discriminatory use of this measure, and urged UNHCR to pursue its work in close coordination with host countries, and report on resettlement activities more regularly and actively. The participants called upon the international community, in cooperation with UNHCR and other relevant international organizations, to provide more resources to support and assist States which host refugees in line with the principle of international solidarity, cooperation, and burden-sharing. The conference welcomed the “Solution Strategy for Afghan Refugees to Support Voluntary Repatriation, Sustainable Reintegration and Assistance to Host Countries”, developed through consultations by the Governments of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, as facilitated by the UNHCR as endorsed in the joint communiqué in the conference held in Geneva on 2-3 May 2012. It called for effective implementation of the Strategy, through enhanced international cooperation, to promote voluntary repatriation and sustainable reintegration of Afghan refugees in safety and dignity, in order to resolve one of the largest and longest protracted refugee situations in the world.

Some facts and figures about refugees in the Muslim World:

• The 57 OIC member states host approximately 17,761,399 persons (as of Dec. 2010) of concern to UNHCR (comprising refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs, returnees and stateless persons); thus constituting approximately 52 per cent of a total of some 34 million persons of concern to UNHCR around the world. This figure does not include the 5 million Palestinian refugees, who fall within the specific mandate given by the United Nations General Assembly to UNRWA. • Iran and Pakistan alone were host to over 30 per cent of the world’s refugee population, before large-scale repatriation (3.5 million refugees) movements to Afghanistan commenced. • UNHCR assists the 210,000 Sudanese from Darfur who have sought refuge in Chad. In southern Sudan, there is growing hope that the 500,000 Sudanese refugees presently in eight neighboring countries and the millions of internally displaced persons will be able to return home. • Significant numbers of Iraqis are still hosted by countries in the region and further abroad since the present situation does not yet allow return in safety and dignity. • In Asia, the protracted exile of some 20,000 Muslim refugees of Myanmar in Bangladesh remains a major source of concern to UNHCR. • One million Azerbaijani refugees and population expelled from occupied territories in Nagorno-Karankh rgion.

Refugees and IDPs pose a huge economic burden for Yemen

Displaced Yemenis at a camp in Saada province, Yemen (epa)

Yemen is host to around 750 thousand refugees and has about 400 thousand internally displaced people (IDPs), which is a huge economic burden on a country going through very difficult conditions, according to Yemeni official. The Deputy Foreign Minister and Chair of the National Committee for Refugees Affairs, Ali Mathni Hassan Hameed, explained to the OIC Journal that Yemen has followed an open door policy to the refugees and immigrants coming from the Horn of Africa, especially Somalia, who were escaping civil war and drought. “We receive a large number of immigrants who are on their way to find jobs in Arab and western countries,” said Hameed. In addition, there are also displaced people escaping the

wars and conflicts in Saada and other provinces as a result of confrontations with militant organizations including AlQaeda. “We hope that there would be more international cooperation,” he appealed. He would like to see more cooperation from the international community in all the phases related to refuge. There is particular urgent need in areas such as education, health and jobs as well as cooperation in providing permanent solutions such as resettlement and voluntary repatriation. Yemen also needs assistance in controlling the coastlines against illegal immigration. “We call on the international community to solve the problems from their source.” Somalia has problems and as long as the situation there remains the same with no stability and security, immigration will continue, he said. In the Horn of Africa countries, the international community needs to act to help with the problems of hunger, desertification and drought because these also are a cause of immigration. He said that the international community used to be more generous in giving aid in the past but in the recent years this aid has decreased. This encourages the “economically displaced” and hunger escapees to search for solutions outside their countries. 15


SPECIAL REPORT : MUSLIM REFUGEES

UNRWA urges donors to step forward

A Palestinian refugees family sits in front of their home in the Jabaliya Refugee Camp in northern Gaza (epa)

On the sidelines of the Refugees Conference, OIC Journal interviewed the Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Filippo Grandi. The Conference had allocated a special session for UNRWA and the Palestinian refugees. Why is UNRWA facing financial difficulties in meeting its obligations? Why for me is fairly clear. This is an organization that provides huge public service to almost 5 million Palestinian refugees. Think of education, that makes about half of our budget. Education means bringing to school everyday 500 thousand children, paying salaries to 20,000 teachers, paying maintenance of the schools, providing textbooks, etc. These are not “attractive expenditures” for donors. Donors like to fund humanitarian emergencies or visible activities, but when it comes to funding a public service, it is very difficult. Yet, on that funding we depend, and without that funding it means that the children don’t go to school and then you’ll have a crisis much worse than humanitarian. So my appeal here in the conference and other conferences, please donors including OIC member states, look at our budget, make an effort to fund not a budget, which is not easily understandable, but fund the schools, fund the clinics, fund the program for poor people because the difficulty is that every year we are short 10-20% of the needed funds. We have to do acrobatics to get enough to pay at least the running cost. 16

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What about other issues like health, sanitary conditions? People think of UNRWA as a humanitarian agency, which we are, but we are more than that because all this we do is almost like a development agency, although we do humanitarian work in Gaza and Lebanon and that too this year has been difficult to fund. The window of funding that we have been secure with is infrastructure because we get funding, especially from Arab donors, to build infrastructure in Gaza and Lebanon. But we do need desperately also humanitarian funding, which is food, cash, and emergency job creation, especially in Gaza because although we can do some construction doesn’t mean the humanitarian crisis is over. Is there a problem with Israel cooperating? The Israeli government has a rather pragmatic attitude visà-vis UNRWA because they do need UNRWA to do its work in Gaza in particular but also in the West Bank. In the West Bank we have a large operation, 750 thousand refugees is a lot of people. Not to mention Gaza where we have more than one million refugees, and two-thirds of the work is done by us.


So the Israelis understand that this is important otherwise they have to do it as the occupying power. The difficulty is in the day-to-day, the permissions, passes, crossings and passages. But the fundamental problem is the occupation and everything that goes with it because that is really limiting in giving people space, access to services, and opportunities for the young people. It is very humiliating, and depriving of opportunities is dangerous in a very volatile region and it is dangerous for Israel if their main goal is security. You don’t reach security by occupation and control; you reach security by peace. Besides financial, what are other challenges for UNRWA? The Gaza blockade is a big problem. Although it has relaxed in the past few years, it is still a problem because we can only import a limited amount of building materials and that requires cumbersome procedures. Of course in the West Bank moving around is bad and the access of refugees to services. But in Lebanon we also have problems because refugees have very limited rights, especially the right to work and right to property. There has been some improvement two years ago, but it remains limited and more needs to be done because the refugees depend entirely on UNRWA and its limited resources, but if they had access to jobs that will give them income. Syria is another case. In the past, Syria was very stable and was a very good host to refugees, exemplary for many decades. Now we need some assistance, more than usual in helping the poor refugees in Syria and perhaps be prepared in the health sector and food sector to stockpile, but we are more concerned about poverty, so giving them cash to keep them going. What is UNRWA’s budget? UNRWA has many budgets, but the most important, the core budget, is education and health. It is in excess of $600 million a year, and that has a short of approximately 10% ($65 million) that has to be filled. I really hope that the Arab countries and OIC countries will hear our appeal and help because western countries fill 90% of that budget. Another priority is humanitarian work in Gaza.

Malki (R) speaking at the Conference on Muslim Refugees.

The other is reconstruction of Nahr El-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon. Half of it has been funded, but it is a $350 million project, so it’s a massive undertaking. The Saudis are the second largest donors to the project after the Americans. It will take slower than we thought but the important thing is that more people are coming back, by the end of the year, 4000 people would come back out of 27,000. By next year we hope to complete half the project.

UNRWA needs support: Malki

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Al Malki stressed that OIC Member States need to give more support to UNRWA for it to continue meeting its obligations. He welcomed the holding of a special session at the Conference for UNRWA and the issue of Palestinian refugees saying that it is a good step by the OIC to focus attention on the issue. “I think it was a call for attention and to mobilize more support and interest from the Muslim world,” said Al-Malki to OIC Journal. “We hope that the meeting would generate more interest from the Member States to focus on the issue and their willingness to support UNRWA.” He urged the Muslim countries to give more support to UNRWA, and rather than 90% of the support is from western countries, it would be 90% from Muslim countries. “This meeting perhaps would make some countries reassess their contribution to UNRWA’s budget.”

UNRWA official handing over food box to a Palestinian woman refugee in Syria (epa) Shatila Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon (epa)

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Syrian refugee children at a camp in Antakya, Turkey (epa)

OIC: Syria needs $500 million in aid Thousands of Syrian refugees pour into neighboring countries Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - The humanitarian crisis in Syria at 80,000. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu said in has grown to such dimensions that at least $500 million in a television interview that Turkey could host a maximum of aid is required to meet the needs of the Syrian people, the 100,000. The refugee camps near the border are already full, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said in an appeal and the government is building seven more camps. The United Nations has also warned of a humanitarian to donors. “We are calling for increased humanitarian efforts and crisis with more than one million people displaced inside cooperation between international and regional organizations Syria and up to 2.5 million in need of aid. On another front, the UN observers wound up their mission in order to deliver urgent humanitarian aid to the Syrian people in Syria and in neighboring countries,” said Ekmeleddin on August 19, amid a failure by world powers to agree how Ihsanoglu, head of the OIC in a press briefing on August 1, to respond to President Bashar Assad’s crackdown and bring 2012. “The amount of aid needed for Syria is $500 million,” peace to Syria. The end of the mission came just days after the veteran he said Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah launched a nationwide Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi was named to replace fundraising campaign in July to help the people of Syria, Kofi Annan as UN-Arab League envoy. The OIC has held an Executive Committee meeting at the collecting more than $117 million. More than 276,000 Syrians have fled their country since ministerial level on 24 June 2012 at its Headquarters in Jeddah March 2011, according to UN refugee agency figures. The and recommended the suspension of Syria’s membership in the UNHCR doubled its forecast for the number of refugees who OIC The final communiqué of the meeting also urged the UN will flee Syria this year and said it would need more than twice Security Council to discuss the Syrian situation under Chapter the money previously thought; the $193 million dollars that VII of the UN Charter and called upon it to assume its full responsibilities to put an end to the violence and bloodshed had been budgeted to help them will not be enough. The spokesperson for the Jordanian Ministry for in Syria. ​In his address to the Executive Committee meeting, Communications Affairs and Government Samih Ma’ytah said Jordan would not be able to continue Ihsanoglu noted that the OIC had made a point from the outset extending help to Syrian refugees if their influx continues to avoid interference in a Member State’s domestic affairs, to be at the current pace and the international community respectful of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to reject pays no attention to the seriousness of the situation. the internationalization of the crisis, in the hope of achieving a According to official statistics, the number of Syrian refugees permanent solution within the framework of the Arabo-Islamic in Jordan reached 140,000, putting an additional burden on the world. However, the exacerbated security situation, the nature of the repressive practices, and the killing of so many children country’s limited resources. Meanwhile, thousands of refugees are massed on the Syrian- and women, have played for the internationalization of the crisis. ​ he Secretary General underlined that, for any crisis to be Turkish border, waiting to enter, as Turkey tries to build new T camps to accommodate them. The number of refugees coming overcome, the parties concerned must demonstrate openness, to Turkey has grown quickly. In April, there were 25,000 readiness to work towards a peaceful solution, and a will to refugees, and current United Nations figures put the number strive for reconciliation. 18

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SPECIAL REPORT : MUSLIM REFUGEES

Follow up Commission evaluates implementation of Darfur peace document Doha, Qatar – The third meeting of the Implementation Follow-up Commission (IFC) for Peace in Darfur was held on 28 May in Doha to consider the progress made so far in the provisions of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, and to address issues of concern. The meeting took note of the achievements including the inauguration of the Darfur Regional Authority, the establishment of the Special Court and the commencement of the work of the Special Prosecutor, and the creation of the High Committee on Darfur chaired by the President of Sudan. The members expressed concerns over the slow pace of the implementation process, mainly occasioned by delays in the disbursement of the funds and adequate provisions of required logistics to the Darfur Regional Authority, and the ongoing fighting between the non-signatories and the Government of Sudan, as these will negatively impact the peace process in Darfur. The forum discussed progress in the implementation of the ceasefire and final security arrangements, and expressed hope that with completion of the initial verification of forces exercise, the parties will quickly agree on the sequencing of the next steps in the full and timely implementation of a permanent ceasefire and security arrangements. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) welcomed the efforts of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) for implementing the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), particularly in the areas of reconstruction and providing assistance to the displaced and refugees. The OIC also welcomed the establishment of the National Commission for Human Rights, and the appointment of a public prosecutor for the Court of Darfur. This was expressed in the speech of Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the OIC Secretary General, and delivered on his behalf by Ambassador Mohamad Habib Kaabachi, Director at the OIC Department of Political Affairs.

In his speech, Ihsanoglu expressed his appreciation of both parties to the DDPD for their continuous significant and effective efforts to bring peace to Darfur. He renewed the call to, and emphasis on, the need for intensification of the efforts of the international community to bring all Darfur movements and parties to the peace process, and put the legitimate demands of the citizens of Darfur for peace, security and stability above all other considerations. On the other hand, Ihsanoglu expressed his concern about the tense situation on the border between the Republic of Sudan and State of Southern Sudan because of the resulting instability and tragic humanitarian situation for the residents of these areas. He repeated his call for both countries to honor the peace agreement and resolve outstanding issues through negotiation and peaceful means. In the same context, the OIC renewed its readiness to continue its efforts towards the achievement of sustainable peace, reconciliation and social and economic development in Darfur. It also expressed its readiness to work with other international and regional parties in the framework of the HFCPD. Ihsanoglu reiterated the willingness of the OIC to implement reconstruction and development projects in Darfur within the scope of what has been announced at the Donors' Conference held in Cairo, and the amounts allocated for this purpose. Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud, Deputy Prime Minister of the State of Qatar, chaired the IFC meeting. It was attended by the Government of Sudan, the Liberation and Justice Movement, representatives of Burkina Faso, Canada, Chad, China, Egypt, France, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United States, the African Union, the League of Arab States, the European Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur.

Women taking classes at Abu Shouk IDP Camp in north Darfur (epa)

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SPECIAL REPORT : MUSLIM REFUGEES

Yemen:

Sounding the alarm bells over worsening humanitarian crisis Alarm bells sounded over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen, which most of the world is not aware of. Humanitarian agencies warned that Yemen is heading for a major humanitarian crisis unless relief organizations quickly boost their response capacity, and donors provide much-needed funding to contain rising malnutrition, disease and poverty. A joint humanitarian mission led by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and consisting of the United Nations, European Union, USAID, Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League went to Yemen in early June to send a strong message to the international community and make an urgent call for a real international effort to help Yemenis and raise the profile of Yemen among donors. From Yemen the mission warned of worsening humanitarian situation in the country, pointing out that there are more than five million Yemenis affected directly because of the humanitarian crisis and malnutrition, including half a million children, half of whom suffer acute malnutrition while a quarter face the threat of death. Forty-four percent of the population food insecure: According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), some 44 percent of Yemen’s population - over 10 million people - are food insecure. Of that number, five million cannot produce or buy enough food. In Al Bayda Governorate, over 60 percent of the population is food insecure. Nearly 95,000 people have been forced to leave their homes as a result of two new conflicts. Since mid-February, an estimated 56,000 people (8,000 families) have been displaced in the south from Abyan Governorate, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In the north, an estimated 38,000 people (5,500 families) have been displaced in Hajjah Governorate alone.

Insecurity: Aid workers partly blame the situation on insecurity. More than 900 schools have closed, while damage to the health infrastructure and lack of vaccines and medicines has left a large number of children vulnerable to diseases like diarrhea, cholera, polio and measles. Most of the recently displaced families were forced out of their homes at short notice when fighting came close to their communities. “It is likely that these 13,500 new IDPs (internally displaced persons)… will remain displaced for a protracted period, possibly years,” OCHA said. According to OCHA, the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan is 20 percent funded, amounting to approximately $88 million. A funding gap of $360 million remains. 20

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Friends of Yemen: At the Friends of Yemen conference in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on 23 May, donors with Saudi Arabia in the lead, pledged $4 billion in aid to Yemen. Saudi Arabia will be giving financial support to Yemen amounting to $ 3.25 billion as part of its contribution to development projects that will be agreed upon by the Yemeni side in line with the transition plan submitted by the Yemeni government at the Friends of Yemen conference in Riyadh. The high profile event aimed at mobilizing more assistance and support of the global community. Speaking on the occasion, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said that Yemen is currently facing a complicated and difficult situation in economic, humanitarian, political and security terms, dragging the country into an unprecedented


Two displaced Yemeni girls at a UNHCR camp in Al-Mazraq, northern Yemen (epa)

economic and humanitarian crisis. “In 2011, as a result of recent incidents, the situation has intensified the economic, social and security challenges in the Yemeni arena, which contributed to the sharp decline of economic activity and prevented a large part of the investment program as well as the freezing of aid and assistance from some donors,” he said. Therefore, the government of Yemen has prepared a phased program for the stability and development for the period 201213 as part of a short-term plan for restoring political, economic and social stability, Prince Saud elaborated. He added: “In the interest of the Kingdom for the security and stability and Yemen’s growth, Saudi Arabia will be giving $ 3.25 billion to Yemen.” This will include support for all economic sectors and social

and cultural development as well as finance and guaranteed exports to SaudiArabia and deposit in the Central Bank of Yemen. Saudi Arabia had also provided to Yemen a grant at the London Donors Conference of $ 1 billion allocated for development projects through the Saudi Development Fund. Saudi Arabia will host the next donor conference for Yemen in September. OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu reaffirmed at the Riyadh Conference OIC’s continuous support and assistance to Yemen to help it build modern-state institutions and complete economic and social development projects that would ensure its security and stability. Ihsanoglu indicated that the international community, represented in the Friends of Yemen Group, is invited to step up its concerted efforts to provide all kinds of support and assistance to the Yemeni people in the process of restructuring their political, security and economic institutions. The situation in Yemen worse than Somalia: OIC Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ambassador Atta El-Manan Bakhit, said to OIC Journal that the situation in Yemen right now is worse than Somalia in June 2011, because when famine was declared in Somalia, there were 2.5-3 million Somalis facing famine. Now in Yemen, about six million people are suffering. There is also a problem of access in Yemen, especially in areas out of control of the government. The northern Saada province – controlled by the Shiite Houthi group - is one of the areas there is no easy access to, as well as areas controlled by Al-Qaeda elements, he said. Unfortunately, there are no clear figures about the humanitarian problem in these areas. OIC launches ‘Hope Campaign for Helping Yemen’, opens humanitarian coordination office in Yemen: OIC Secretary General Ihsanoglu launched the ‘Hope for Helping Yemen’ campaign on 10 August 2012 through several Arab and international satellite channels. The Secretary General addressed an appeal to the Muslim Ummah to help their brothers in Yemen who are suffering from a shortage in food security caused by the political crisis and internal conflicts. The campaign aims to collect $210 million urgently to relieve the burden of food insecurity. It has six goals: emergency food, health services, education, water, shelter for the displaced, and rehabilitation. The OIC had conducted a field survey and identified 11 provinces in Yemen to benefit from the campaign in coordination with civil society organizations and the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. Meanwhile, the OIC signed in Sanaa, Yemen on 28 August an agreement to open its representative office at Yemen for coordination of humanitarian and development purposes. The agreement was signed by Dr. Mutahar Al-Abbasi, Yemeni Deputy Minister of International Planning and Cooperation and Fouad Ali Al-Maznai, Adviser to OIC Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs. Under the agreement, OIC will follow up and coordinate humanitarian and development assistance to Yemen as well as mobilize resources for funding developmental and humanitarian programs. 21


SPECIAL REPORT : MUSLIM REFUGEES

Somalia needs global reconstruction Ihsanoglu: Somalia reached a critical turning point

Somali IDPs wait in line to receive relief food at a food distribution center in Mogadishu (epa)

Istanbul, Turkey – Somalia needs a global reconstruction effort to back up ongoing stabilization efforts and stop the Horn of Africa’s 20-year descent into chaos, leaders said on May 31 at the start of a meeting in Turkey. Representatives from 57 countries and 11 international and regional organizations, as well as by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) leadership, the regional administrations, and representatives from wide-ranging segments of Somali society, including youth, women, business community, elders, religious leaders and the Diaspora attended the conference on Somalia, under the theme “Preparing Somalia’s Future: Goals for 2015”. “After a long period of instability and conflict, we now have ahead of us an opportunity for genuine peace and security,” Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said at the opening of the Second Istanbul Conference on Somalia. The capital Mogadishu — where pro-government forces have largely driven out insurgents — was now open for business, he said as he called for a broad international reconstruction effort. The two-day conference — which follows a London meeting in February — kicked off with discussions among senior officials, experts and businessmen on four key issues: water, energy, roads and sustainability. On the second day, the conference turned its attention to the political dimension of aid to Somalia, with the 22

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participation of UN chief Ban Ki-moon, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as British Foreign Secretary William Hague. “Somalia’s future is in the hands of Somalia,” Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali told the conference. The country was ready for long-term development, he said, urging “multiple donors to set up a trust fund for Somalia.” One major objective of the conference is to outline the future of Somalia by setting goals for 2015, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry. The Secretary General of Organization of Islamic Cooperation said that Somalia, today, has reached a critical turning point. In his statement, Ihsanoglu commended the steadfastness and resolve of the Somali stakeholders led by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) with the support of its international partners for their perseverance, which has led to the attainment of significant milestones like the Kampala Accord, the adoption of the Roadmap, the Garowe I and II Principles, the London Conference as well as the Representative Constitutional Assembly convened recently in Mogadishu. Ihsanoglu reiterated the OIC’s stated position that there should be no further extension of the transitional period. The Secretary General called upon the Somali stakeholders and the international partners along with OIC to strengthen their


unity against spoilers by sending a strong message to them due to the effective delivery of aid and the good harvest at the while at the same time encouraging the TFG to continue its beginning of the year, but the humanitarian situation remains outreach efforts to create space for those genuinely interested critical,” said ASG Bragg. “We must build on the fragile gains. in joining mainstream politics. He referred to the OIC’s The number of people who need food aid decreased by 1.5 efforts in assisting the reconciliation process explaining that million, but 2.5 million people are still in crisis and that is a since the exploratory contacts made with some moderates very large number.” in the insurgency, the initiative has stalled and has not made According to Ms. Bragg, a key focus now is on helping progress. people regain their livelihoods, which is crucial to building On the humanitarian aspect of Somalia, the Secretary resilience to future droughts and other shocks. General highlighted that the lives of millions of weak and “I urge all stakeholders to recommit to protect the most vulnerable people, continues to be at risk. “The future of vulnerable and ensure that their basic needs are met.” Somalia can only be secured through an enduring international “The local and international aid workers collaborating in partnership.” Somalia have proven they can make a difference,” she noted. Ihsanoglu stated that the OIC will focus on the relocation “We are strengthening coordination with key actors, including of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their villages Turkey and the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, which and homes as a means of promoting sustainable development is vital to ensure that all of our resources are used efficiently in the country. In this regard, he revealed that 10,000 out of for the benefit of the Somali people.” the 100,000 IDPs in Mogadishu have already been re-settled; The Saudi National Campaign for the Relief of Somali pointing out that the OIC is presently in consultation with the People digs wells as part of a $15 million project TFG to launch socio-economic development programs for The Somali capital Mogadishu on 2 May 2012 celebrated women and youth empowerment. the launching of the project to dig wells by the Saudi National The conference adopted the Istanbul II Declaration, which Campaign for the Relief of the Somali People. Two locations reiterated that the transitional period will come to an end in witnessed the beginning of the take-off of activities in the August 2012. The Conference agreed on the need to revitalize capital Mogadishu as part of the Saudi National Campaign funding arrangements. It took note of the proposal for the project to dig 150 artesian wells with all their accessories establishment of a new Rebuilding and Restructuring Fund in south and central Somalia at a total cost of about US$ 15 for the Somali Security Sector initiated by Turkey to offer million. additional support to the Somali security forces. The Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs The Conference also welcomed ongoing negotiations to and International Cooperation, Ambassador Atta El Manane establish a mutual accountability regime built around the Bakhiet, stated that the huge humanitarian assistance provided proposed Joint Financial Management Board (JFMB). It urged by Saudi Arabia through the National Campaign for the Relief the early conclusion of the negotiations establishing the JFMB of the Somali People is part of the Kingdom’s service to the and noted that the international community remains committed causes of the Islamic Ummah, particularly for the relief of to helping Somalia better regulate its finances and development the affected people of Somalia. The celebration was held in assistance. The Conference welcomes the establishment the presence of the Somali Deputy Prime Minister and the of a multi-donor Trust Fund for post- Transition financing. Ministers of Water, Information, Finance and Works and UN Relief Official calls for sustained aid and livelihood several ambassadors, notables and leaders of organizations. support in Somalia The Deputy Prime Minster and Minster of Trade of UN Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Humanitarian Somalia in his speech stressed the importance of the strategic Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine water project and thanked the King, Government and people Bragg concluded a five-day mission in May to Somalia and of Saudi Arabia for their gifts to the Somali people in various Kenya to gauge progress in humanitarian efforts to respond to fields. the consequences of the 2011 drought. The Saudi National Campaign for the Relief of the Somali During her visit to Mogadishu, on 8 and 9 May, ASG Bragg People had donated food and medicine assistance of more visited internally displaced persons’ (IDP) settlements and than 10,000 tones under the supervision of the OIC Office in met with government officials, key humanitarian actors and Somalia. stakeholders, including Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Somalia adopts a Provisional Constitution, elects speaker Ali of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, of Parliament and some members of the diplomatic corps. The ASG urged The Secretary General of the OIC welcomed the adoption the TFG and the international community to keep the crisis in on August 1, 2012 of the Provisional Constitution of Somalia by Somalia high on its agenda. the National Constituent Assembly. Ihsanoglu congratulated “Famine conditions are no longer present in Somalia, largely all Somalis particularly the Signatories of the Roadmap and the Elders for this major achievement in the implementation Ihsanoglu speaking at Istanbul conference of the transition. Ihsanoglu later also congratulated the Somali people on the election of the Speaker of the new Federal Parliament in Somalia, Prof. Mohammed Osman Jawari, as another important milestone in the transitional process. He urged the parliamentarians to stay the course and discharge their historic responsibility by concluding the election of the two deputy Speakers and finally that of the President. 23


SPECIAL REPORT : MUSLIM REFUGEES

OIC concerned about situation in Mali

Refugee overspill worsens Sahel food crisis A family from Mali sits under a tent on the terrain of a refugees camp near Dori, Burkina Faso (epa)

Bamako, Mali – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has again rejected any secessionist move in the Republic of Mali and reaffirmed the principled position of the OIC for the respect of the territorial integrity of the country. From the start, he expressed the OIC’s total rejection of the so-called proclamation by the “National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA)” of an independent homeland in the north of the Republic of Mali. The Secretary General firmly condemned this act of separatism while he emphasized the OIC’s principled commitment to Mali’s territorial integrity and inalienable sovereignty over its internationally recognized borders. Ihsanoglu who expressed regret at the continuing uncertainty in Mali, appealed to the opposition to drop their weapons and seek constructive dialogue to resolve their grievances within the recognized international borders of a united nation. The Secretary General lauded the efforts deployed by the ECOWAS leaders to restore democracy, durable peace and stability in Mali and Guinea Bissau. He reiterated OIC’s unwavering support to contribute to any initiative that will help stabilize the region. However, events took a negative turn when the President of Mali was attacked and had to be flown to Paris for medical treatment. The Secretary General condemned the physical assault on May 21 on H.E. Dioncounda Traore, the Interim President of Mali, by protesters who broke into the presidential palace in the capital, Bamako. Ihsanoglu appealed to all Malians to unite and work with the transitional authorities to save their nation from further drift into uncertainty and to restore constitutional order in the country as soon as possible. Renegade soldiers had toppled the elected President on March 22 but later agreed under intense regional and international pressure to hand power back to a civilian administration, however they have retained considerable influence. The ECOWAS leaders are trying to secure a national 24

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unity government in Mali to tackle the crisis. The conflict had caused thousand of refugees to flee northern Mali to neighboring countries, placing even greater strain on the Sahel region, already battling a severe food crisis. Over 18 million people in eight countries are facing food shortages and drought. Now the 250,000 Malians estimated by the UN refugee agency UNHCR to have poured into Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Algeria have put greater pressure on food resources. In addition, UNHCR estimates that 160,000 people in Mali have been internally displaced by the conflict. So far, not enough humanitarian aid has been raised to meet the $1.6 billion needed to help the Sahel get back on its feet. On another note, the OIC deplored the destruction of historical sites in Timbuktu, Mali by religious extremist groups. The OIC spokesperson said that the sites were part of the rich Islamic heritage of Mali and should not be allowed to be destroyed and put in harms way by bigoted extremist elements. Islamist militants destroyed two tombs on July 10 at the famous 14th century Djingareyber mosque in Timbuktu, classified by UNESCO as a world heritage site. The destruction came after attacks the previous week on other historic and religious landmarks in Timbuktu that UNESCO called "wanton destruction". Ansar Dine group and well-armed allies, including al Qaeda splinter group MUJWA, have hijacked a separatist uprising by local Tuareg MNLA rebels and now control two-thirds of Mali's desert north, territory that includes the regions of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu. They have destroyed at least eight of 16 listed mausoleums in the city, together with a number of tombs and a sacred door at Sidi Yahya mosque, in their campaign to erase traces of what they regard One of as un-Islamic idolatry. the clayAccording to mosques in UNESCO, Djingareyber, Timbuktu together with the Sankore attacked by and Sidi Yahia mosques, Ansar Dine are known as the three (epa) great mosques of the city. The OIC called for taking necessary measures and appropriate steps for the protection and preservation of the historical sites.


WORLD AFFAIRS

Egypt elects its first democratic, civilian president

Ihsanoglu meets Egyptian President Mursi at Ittihadiya Palace in Cairo

Cairo, Egypt – President Muhammad Mursi received OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu at Ittihadiya Palace in Cairo on July 21, 2012. The Secretary General congratulated Mursi for assuming office as president of Egypt, expressing his appreciation for the success of the democratization process in Egypt. The Secretary General acquainted the President with the OIC activities, programs and projects. The meeting also covered cooperation between the OIC and Egypt, in addition to the 12th Islamic Summit to be hosted by Egypt next year. Muslim Brotherhood member Muhammad Mursi was declared Egypt’s first democratic president on June 24, 2012 by the election committee, which said he had defeated Ahmed Shafiq with 51.7 percent of the vote. He succeeds Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown in February 2011 after a popular uprising. Mursi won the first round ballot in May with a little under a quarter of the vote. After the announcement, the Secretary General sent a letter to Mursi noting that the victory in his fair election campaign is a unique achievement, which leads for a promising future for a new Egypt, and will be an example for the Arab peoples who aspire for democracy, prosperity and progress.

Analysts expect that Mursi would face the challenge to lead a bitterly divided, fearful, and angry population toward a peaceful democratic outcome. Still, his victory in the country’s first free presidential election breaks a tradition of domination by men from the armed forces, which have provided every Egyptian leader since the overthrow of the monarchy 60 years ago, and installs in office a group that drew on 84 years of disciplined grassroots activism to catapult Mursi into the presidency. He has promised a moderate, modern Islamist agenda to steer Egypt into a new democratic era where autocracy will be replaced by transparent government that respects human rights and revives the fortunes of a powerful Arab state long in decline. Mursi is promising an “Egyptian renaissance with an Islamic foundation.” Mursi, the 60-year old US-trained engineer, narrowly defeated Shafiq with 51.7 percent of the vote versus 48.3, by a margin of only 800,000 votes, the election commission said. Turnout was 51 percent. Farouk Sultan, the head of the commission, described the elections as “an important phase in the end of building our nascent democratic experience.” The country’s new constitution is not written and the authorities of the president are not clear. Mursi paid tribute on June 29 to Egypt’s Muslims and Christians alike and symbolically swore himself in as the country’s first elected civilian president before a huge crowd at Tahrir Square. He said: “I swear to preserve the republican system... and to preserve the independence” of Egypt. As he officially took the oath of office on June 30 before the Supreme Constitutional Court, Mursi promised a “new Egypt”. “We aspire to a better tomorrow, a new Egypt and a second republic,” Mursi said during a solemn ceremony shown live on state television.

Succesful first elections in Libya in over 40 years

Tripoli, Libya – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, congratulated the Libyan people after the announcement of the final results of the elections. The elections took place on 7 July 2012 in Libya in an atmosphere of democracy and transparency and during which the Libyan people voted freely to select members of the National Congress that will lead the second transitional phase

A Libyan woman casts her vote (epa)

in Libya. Ihsanoglu renewed his confidence that all political parties in Libya will endeavor to build a state of law and institutions and emphasize security and development in Libya. The election is a major step for a country emerging from 42 years of Moammar Gadhafi’s one-man rule. It also marks the end for the interim National Transitional Council, which has been running Libya since Gadhafi was overthrown and killed last year. The election commission said former interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril’s National Forces Alliance won 39 seats, or nearly half of those allocated for parties. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction party came in second with 17 seats. Smaller factions won the other 24 seats set aside for parties. In a surprise result, the Islamist National Party, led by former rebel commander Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, won no seats. The balance of power lies with the 120 seats set aside for independent candidates. The 200-seat National Assembly is tasked with forming a new government to replace the NTC’s Cabinet. 25


WORLD AFFAIRS

Kabul Conference agree on follow up elements to Istanbul Process Kabul, Afghanistan – The ‘Heart of Asia’ Ministerial M a z a r - i S h a r i f Conference was convened on 14 June 2012 in Kabul, Herat railway Afghanistan, as the first follow-up ministerial meeting of corridor. Similarly, the Istanbul Process launched by the Istanbul Conference Afghanistan is for Afghanistan in November 2011. The Conference was participating in the inaugurated by H.E. Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, OIC Plan of Action and co-chaired by Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, Minister of Foreign for Cooperation Affairs of Afghanistan, and Dr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of with Central Asia, Foreign Affairs of Turkey. which contains The Conference agreed on the following three elements cooperation in for the follow-up to the Istanbul Process: various areas of A) Political consultation involving Afghanistan and its agriculture, rural near and extended neighbors; development and B) A sustained incremental approach to implementation of food security, trade Afghan President Hamid Karzai (C) with the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) identified in the exchange, health, the participants in Kabul conference (epa) Istanbul Process document; and education, poverty C) Seeking to contribute and bring greater coherence to alleviation, transport, as well as research and scientific the work of various regional processes and organizations, cooperation. He hoped that during the future course of particularly as they relate to Afghanistan. preparing detailed implementation plans for CBMs, the OIC The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic would be able to further play its role in specific areas. Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu attended the Kabul “Afghanistan is a rich country possessing enormous human Ministerial Conference and delivered a statement in which and natural resources, with a strategic location and historical he reiterated the strong commitment of the OIC towards standing. It should reclaim its position as the ‘Heart of Asia’ sustainable peace, stability and development in Afghanistan for the promotion of security and cooperation in the region,” and expressed the OIC’s readiness to contribute to the regional said Ihsanoglu. and international efforts to assist the Afghan people. The OIC also participated in the Tokyo Conference Moreover, Ihsanoglu said the OIC funding mechanisms on Afghanistan held on 8 July 2012. Ambassador A.H.M. have continued to carry out important country and regional Moniruzzaman, the Representative of the OIC Secretary projects in the domains of trade financing and transport sector General for Afghanistan, delivered a statement on behalf of development, with particular reference to the Dushanbe- the Secretary General.

Chairman of Afghan High Peace Council:

Ulama Conference to be held soon Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Chairman of the Afghan High Peace Council Salahuddin Rabbani visited the premises of the General Secretariat of Organization of Islamic Cooperation, (OIC) in Jeddah, on 4 July 2012 with his accompanying delegation including Minister of Integration Stanekzai. They held discussions with Ambassador Saadeddin Taib, the Senior Advisor to OIC Secretary General and other OIC officials. Both sides discussed the different aspects of the peace process in Afghanistan and the transition period through which Afghanistan will take full responsibility by 2014. They also discussed further ways and means for advancing cooperation between OIC and Afghanistan in different fields of development, economy and education. Speaking to OIC Journal, Rabbani expressed his hopes that the Conference of Muslim Scholars (Ulama), sponsored by the OIC, would be held in the near future. Rabbani added that he would appreciate if the Ulama Conference is held in Kabul. However, he stated that if “the majority’s view that it should be held somewhere else we can go ahead with that”. The Secretary General of OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu had reiterated in several occasions OIC’s commitment to hold 26

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an Ulama Conference at an appropriate time in cooperation with the Afghan authorities with the aim of contributing to the reconciliation process. Rabbani praised OIC’s “crucial role” in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan by convincing Afghanistan’s neighboring countries and the regional countries in helping with the peace process. On the issue of violence in Afghanistan, Rabbani downplayed its prevalence. “There are incidents of violence in some areas, but it is not as widespread as it is being expressed in the media,” he told the OIC Journal. He assured that 70% of the country is secure under the control of Afghan forces, and hopes that by 2014, when all foreign forces are withdrawn, the Afghan security forces would be in control all the areas. “We hope that the international community would continue its support to strengthen our security institutions, but so far the transition process is going fine.” Rabbani stressed on the importance of economic development and foreign investment in bringing stability and security to Afghanistan because most of the “foot soldiers of the opponents in the Taliban are unemployed youth, so they can be easily recruited, but if they have a descent way of making a living they will not fight.”


OIC calls on Thai Government to intensify its efforts in solving conflict in the South

Amb. El-Masry (C) speaking to press in Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand – A high-level delegation of the OIC led by Ambassador Sayed Kassem El-Masry, Advisor and Special Envoy of the OIC Secretary General, paid an official visit to Thailand on 7-13 May 2012 at the invitation of Dr. Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand. The delegation had constructive meetings with key government agencies and a wide range of stakeholders. The OIC delegation also visited the Southern Border Provinces of Thailand (SBPs) and had meetings with key stakeholders and local communities in the area. Both sides reaffirmed the Joint Press Statement issued during the visit to Thailand of the OIC Secretary General in 2007 as reflecting the spirit of cooperation between Thailand and the OIC. The Thai side reiterated that the issue of the SBPs is a top national priority for the Royal Thai Government (RTG) and briefed the OIC delegation on the policy and efforts being undertaken by the RTG to resolve the problem through a comprehensive approach to address root causes of the problem in accordance with the Royal advice of His Majesty the King of Thailand to “Understand, Reach out and Develop”. The OIC delegation welcomed the positive developments since the visit of the OIC Secretary General in 2007 and believed that the policy of the RTG is moving in the right direction. In this regard, the OIC welcomed the efforts being undertaken by the RTG and urged the Thai side to intensify these efforts. The OIC delegation noted the lifting of the Emergency Decree in certain areas in the SBPs and urged the Thai side to consider lifting the Decree in other areas of the SBPs. They also urged the acceleration of efforts to implement educational plans as adopted by the RTG, which attends to aspects of culture and identity. The Thai side assured that the Emergency Decree would be lifted whenever and wherever the situation on the ground permits. The Thai side further emphasized that the perpetuation of violence continued to pose an obstacle to efforts by the RTG to promote peace, security and developments as desired by the people of the SBPs. The Thai side emphasized the need to bring an end to a cycle of violence in order to create a condition for peace,

development, harmony and peaceful co-existence of all people in the SBPs. Both sides denounced the indiscriminate acts of violence against innocent civilians as they are against the teaching of Islam. Both sides agreed that the visit underlined the commitment of the RTG, as an Observer of the OIC, to strengthen relations with the Organization. Both sides were of the view that the visit was successful in further strengthening the constructive engagement between Thailand and the OIC. In a joint press conference at the conclusion of the visit, Ambassador El-Masry said that the OIC is encouraging dialogues between the Thai Government and all quarters, including those in disagreement with them in solving the eight-year-old southern conflict. He said that such dialogues were important in reaching a compromise so that a lasting peace could take place in the southern region. Thai Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary Sihasak Phuangketkeow, in the joint press conference, said the Thai Government was engaging dialogues with all parties, including non-governmental organizations. However, he stressed that it was not negotiations with certain quarters because not a single group could claim they represented the people in the south.    From his observation during the visit, El-Masry said the heavy presence of military and roadblocks, as well as limited communication facilities for the public, had created “tension”. However, he noted that the overall situation in the south had improved a lot recently, as compared to his first visit to the region in 2005.  “There is a plan by the government to develop something meaningful towards resolution of the problems,” he said, adding that it recognized the problem and tried to tackle its root causes. He said the root causes were ethnicity, and not Islam, as they wanted to have their own way of life, culture, language and administration of the region. Sihasak said the Thai Government had given some space for them, including locals, to run the region. El-Masry reiterated OIC’s stand on the southern conflict that it make contacts with the minority Muslims through the government. “We condemn any killing of innocent civilians from any quarters, including the military,” he said. While accepting some limitation that OIC could do when dealing with the southern conflict, as it had to respect the Thailand sovereignty, El-Masry said OIC could offer advice when engaged with the Thai Government. “OIC, through the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), could contribute to the economic development of the southern region,” he said. In the cultural and socio aspects, he said OIC could offer scholarships and teachers training programs, among others. El-Masry said, from his observation, the Government looked at the problem from the security aspect only, the last time around, but has included the political, cultural and economic dimensions now. 27


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OIC exerts all-out efforts to stop human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar A Rohingya Muslim girl crying as she escapes with her family from violence in Rakhine (epa)

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) strongly condemned the renewed repression and violation of human rights of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim nationals since last June 2012 that has resulted in deaths of innocent civilians, burning of their homes and mosques and forcing them to leave their homeland. The OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said that over the past three decades, the Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim citizens have been subjected to gross violations of human rights including ethnic cleansing, killings, rape, and forced displacement by Myanmar security forces. Sectarian violence has gripped western Myanmar after 10 Muslim scholars were killed by a Buddhist mob on June 3. The United Nations (UN) estimating around 10,000 people are badly in need of temporary shelters and food following several days of violence. Rakhine (formerly Arakan) is home to Buddhist ethnic population and a large Muslim group. This includes the Rohingya, a stateless people of around 800,000 described by the UN as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities. Another one million Rohingyas or more sought refuge and live in other countries. The Myanmar government considers the Rohingya as foreigners and not one of the nation’s ethnic groups, while many citizens see them as illegal immigrants and view them with hostility. For the past 60 years they were not given their rights. Ihsanoglu said that the recent restoration of democracy in

Myanmar had raised hopes in the international community that oppression against Rohingya Muslim citizens would end and that they would be able to enjoy equal rights and opportunities. However, the renewed violence against Rohingya Muslims had caused great alarm and concern to the OIC. He said that when efforts of the international community including the United Nations were underway for a peaceful resolution of the issue, the OIC was shocked by the recent unfortunate remarks of Myanmar President Thien Sein disowning Rohingya Muslims as citizens of Myanmar. Secretary General Ihsanoglu referred to the United Nations declaration that the Rohingya are an ethnic, religious and linguistic minority from western Burma. Historical facts show that Rohingyas have been present in the land of Myanmar centuries before the British came in and after they left, before the formation of Burma, and very clearly before the formation of the current state of Myanmar. In spite of this, the government of Myanmar continues to persecute and discriminate against the Rohingya minority, particularly the citizenship law 1982, which violated international norms by stripping the Rohingyas unjustly of their rights of citizenship. Ihsanoglu expressed the OIC’s determination to remain seized with the issue and to bring it in the agenda of the concerned international interlocutors including the United Nations, Human Rights Commission, ASEAN, and the EU as well as bilaterally with the Myanmar Government, for a peaceful and lasting resolution of the issue. Myanmar should

Ihsanoglu disappointed over international community’s inaction

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recognize that its new engagement at the international level does not only come with opportunities but also with responsibilities.

Ihsanoglu sends letters to Suu Kyi, President of Myanmar, UN Secretary General and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:

The Secretary General sent a letter to Aung San Suu Kyi, Chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Myanmar, Nobel Peace Laureate to play a positive role in ending the violence that has afflicted Arakan State. Ihsanoglu wrote, “As a Nobel Peace Laureate, we are confident that the first step of your journey towards ensuring peace in the world would start from your own doorstep and that you would play a positive role in bringing an end to the violence that has afflicted Arakan State.” The Secretary General also sent a letter to the President of Myanmar Thein Sein urging him to address the tragic plight of the Rohingya Muslims in accordance with all accepted international human rights norms. Ihsanoglu sought the assurances of the President for the safety and security of the Rohingyas as citizens of Myanmar and end all intimidation and oppression against them. He also called on the President to take appropriate steps to carry out prompt and effective investigations of the atrocities committed against Rohingya Muslims since June 3, 2012 and bring the perpetrators to justice. The Secretary General assured President Sein of the OIC’s readiness to cooperate with the Myanmar Government to advise and assist in the repatriation process of Muslim ethnic minority in Myanmar and to help create a climate of trust and confidence. The OIC Secretary General had also sent letters to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urging them to use their good offices and influence with the Government of Myanmar for an immediate resolution of the issue. Ihsanoglu extended OIC’s fullest support and cooperation with their endeavors in this regard.

OIC convenes political and humanitarian meetings to address the crisis:

The OIC held a consultative humanitarian meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 3, which was attended by more than 20 NGOs. The meeting discussed the challenges these organizations face in providing humanitarian aid to Muslim refugees fleeing Myanmar. On August 5, the OIC held an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Committee. In his speech to the meeting, the Secretary General expressed disappointment at the inaction of the international community to stop the massacres, violations, injustice and ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Myanmar Government against Rohingya Muslims in the Arakan region. Ihsanoglu remarked that the neglect of the rights of Rohingyan people by the international community and the lack of unity among Rohingya organizations, spurred the OIC to exert earnest efforts to unite these organizations for the first time at the OIC Headquarters on 31 May 2011. The Arakan Rohingya Union was formed as an umbrella of 25 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and Associations that represent the Rohingya minority around the world. Ihsanoglu explained that the OIC General Secretariat

had directed its offices at the United Nations in New York to coordinate with its Member States which are also non-permanent members of the UN Security Council (Azerbaijan, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo), to urge the Council to consider the plight of the Rohingyan minorities. The Secretary General proposed to the meeting to condemn the continued repression and ethnically-motivated oppression of the Rohingyan Muslims and demand for the restoration of their legitimate rights. He also requested Member States, particularly those with representation with the Myanmar Government, to do all within their means to convince the Myanmar Government to repeal the arbitrary 1982 Citizenship Law. Ihsanoglu also urged OIC Member States, especially Myanmar’s neighboring countries, as well as Islamic organizations and bodies to provide urgent assistance to the Rohingyan Muslims. He proposed that the Islamic Group in Geneva should dispatch an urgent request to the Human Rights Council to send a fact-finding mission to investigate the massive violations perpetrated against the Muslims inhabitants of Arakan. The OIC Secretary General also proposed setting up of an Islamic fact-finding committee on the events, and that a report in that regard be submitted to the next foreign ministerial conference. He also proposed that an Islamic ministerial contact group be established to find a just, radical solution to this pending issue by contacting all relevant parties, including the Government of Myanmar, as well as international and regional organizations and bodies. Finally, Ihsanoglu called on the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission to consider the issue at its next session to be held in Turkey at the end of August. Dr. Wakar Uddin, Director General of the Arakan Rohingya Union, then spoke and gave a heart-wrenching presentation with pictures and numbers about the sufferings and abuses endured by the Muslim Rohingyas. He tearfully begged the OIC Member States for help.

Myanmar allows the OIC to provide humanitarian assistance:

The Government of Myanmar agreed to allow the entry of Islamic relief organizations into its territory to provide needed assistance to the displaced Rohingya Muslims. The Myanmar Government agreed to this after a delegation from the OIC met with the President Thein Sein in the capital Yangon on August 10, whereupon they reviewed the events that took place and the ways to help those affected. The OIC delegation was headed by Jusuf Kalla, former Vice President of Indonesia, current President of Indonesia Red Cross, and included Ambassador Atta El-Manan Bakhiet, OIC Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, as well as the President of Qatari Red Crescent and the Kuwaiti International Humanitarian Commission. The President welcomed the OIC humanitarian delegation visit to Arakan to observe the situation of the displaced on the ground. He agreed to allow the OIC and its partner organizations to provide humanitarian aid to the province in an urgent manner and to open an office in the region in coordination with the central government in Yangon and the local authorities in the province. 29


OIC NEWS

OIC playing a bigger role in resolving regional conflicts Ihsanoglu addressing a joint UN-OICOSCE meeting on mediation: We can no longer talk of ‘local’ or ‘regional’ conflicts

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Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation stated before a UN-OIC-OSCE meeting that it is no exaggeration to say that one can no longer talk of ‘local’ or ‘regional’ conflicts. A view, which, he said, is justified by the fact that the world is under the heavy impact of globalization at the economic, social and political levels. Ihsanoglu went on to say in his inaugural address at the consultative session themed “Consolidating the Role of Mediation”, that the principle of mediation and conflict-resolution has become a necessity for both regional and international organizations as conflicts take place in the geographical space of the former. Regional organizations also happen to be more cognizant of the political, economic, social and cultural specificities of their regions. The OIC Secretary General inaugurated the consultative session at the OIC Headquarters in Jeddah, on April 3, 2012 with the participation of Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, UN Assistant Secretary General for political affairs. Ihsanoglu made a point of highlighting the OIC’s belief that regional organizations do have a major role to play in promoting world peace. The meeting, which was attended by a number of international and regional organizations, examined the mechanisms and resources required to ensure peace, security and stability in the world through mediation and under the guidance of UN General Assembly’s resolution no: 283/65. The resolution stresses the need to “consolidate the role of mediation in conflict-resolution through peaceful means as well as in preventing and resolving conflicts.” Ihsanoglu also expressed in his address his full confidence that the twoday long session will achieve its anticipated goals in favor of encouraging the Member States of the participating organizations to accord mediation a special interest as an optimal vehicle for the resolution of conflicts across the world. During a bilateral meeting with Zannier, Ihsanoglu stressed the need for strengthening joint cooperation with OSCE in all areas of socioeconomic developments, peace, stability and human rights. From his part, Zannier expressed OSCE’s interest in developing the existing cooperation with OIC through increased interaction and consultations.

The role of the OIC in conflict resolution

The United Nations (UN) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) recognize the important role the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is playing in resolving conflicts in the region and are keen to develop their relations with the OIC. Whether in Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria or the Philippines, the OIC is actively engaged on the ground and in coordination with other regional and international organizations. The Secretary General of OSCE, Lamberto Zannier, pointed to the importance of OIC involvement in resolving regional conflicts such as in Afghanistan where “the OIC is very well placed to play a role” because it can work with the government, the civilians and the different factions. “We have discussed with the OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu exploring ways to making our relations more operational,” said Zannier to the OIC Journal. The OSCE and OIC share a number of common member states and key priorities such as promoting peace, tolerance, human rights and democratic transition as well as common tools including mediation and observing elections. “As we look at the challenges on the ground there are certainly areas of work where we develop our engagement,” said Zannier. Some of the larger challenges include terrorism, organized crime and extremism of every nature.


WORLD AFFAIRS The OSCE also has partnerships with countries that are bordering the region or interested in developing closer relations with the OSCE, and some of these partnerships are with the Mediterranean countries. Zannier believes that because OSCE managed transition in their own midst after the cold war and learned a number of lessons, some of these lessons might be relevant for the processes witnessed in a number of Arab countries Fernández-Taranco while taking into consideration the different environment, historical, social, political and religious points of view. “What we’re offering is simply a platform of lessons learned where the partners can choose what they may be interested in and adjust it to their own experiences.” Afghanistan is an example. It is a partner state for OSCE, which is looking at 2014 when the military presence will be phased out and there will be civilian engagement. The OSCE is assisting the Afghans be better equipped to address the expected challenges and helping them in building capacities. For example, OSCE have a border police college, which is a training facility in Tajikistan and have trained around 600 border guards a third of whom are Afghans and two-thirds are Tajik. In Kyrgyzstan OSCE have a customs facility for training customs officers especially to combat drug trafficking. OSCE is also looking into creating a regional police facility to increase links between police services, and it is discussing the location of this facility which perhaps could be in Central Asia. He commended the consultative session at the OIC as a way for experts to discuss issues from different perspectives and for networking and knowing who is dealing with what issue. “We are setting up a better structure to carry out our mandates but the challenges we face are increasingly of a global nature. No single country or organization can deal with alone,” said Zannier. “It’s important to have these discussions to position ourselves, to exchange views and to orient our activities in ways that create synergies and avoid duplications.”

UN-OIC cooperation:

The UN signed a Partnership Agreement with the OIC eight years ago, that covers political, economic, cultural and educational areas, and since then the UN and the OIC have been holding biannual coordination meetings. The latest meeting took place in May 1-3, 2012 in Geneva. “As of last year, we have expanded to technical cooperation involving UN agencies such as UNESCO, FAO, UNDP, UNFPA, etc, on programmatic discussion. So this partnership has grown in size, dimension and substance,” said UN Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, Oscar Fernández-Taranco, to the OIC Journal. The UN and the OIC has collaborated on the ground on some of the mediation challenges and protracted conflicts such as Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq and more recently in the area of staff exchanges for capacity building.

In terms of the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), both the UN and OIC appoint special envoys and special representatives of the secretary general where there is an increasing amount of collaboration as well as through the Mediation Support Unit, which sits within the DPA, that provides mediation experts on some of the protracted conflicts. The Unit provides expertise on power sharing formulas, ceasefire agreements, monitoring, Zannier constitution making, gender and other such technical expertise. He said that, of all the regional organizations, one of the important aspects of the OIC is the cultural link and historic dimension that it brings to the conflicts in the region, which is rather unique, and the credibility and trust it has also complements extremely well the work of other organizations, particularly the UN. “Because of this unique mandate of the OIC, its wide representativeness and cultural-political role, it is very important,” said Fernández-Taranco.

Guidance for effective mediation:

In his speech at the consultative session, FernándezTaranco spoke about preparing a guidance documents for effective mediation, which was discussed at the session. Elaborating on this he said to the OIC Journal that it is a follow up to a UN General Assembly resolution passed last year. The operative paragraph of the resolution calls for developing a guidance on mediation to standardize and learn from the experiences of different regional organizations on good mediation practices. There is an element of enhancing each organization’s capacity to undertake mediation because for the UN as a matter of principle, he said, it tends to give priority to regional organizations as first respondents to a crisis, in terms of quiet and preventive diplomacy, dialogue and mediation. What is important is that there is a common understanding on issues of terminology, definition, approach, and how mediation can be helpful in preventing conflicts so that there is clarity when different organizations get involved. Fernández-Taranco also said in his speech that according to a study by the World Bank last year (World Development Report), that interstate conflict-relapse rate is almost 90%. According to the report, many of the civil wars in different parts of the world are the result of peace agreements that have been signed or not concluded, relapsing; meaning that the implementation of what has been agreed or discussed has not been implemented or monitored. A case in pint is the agreement between the Philippines Government and the MNLF. The point is, in terms of mediation, that it is not a one-shot event; it requires a commitment long-term beyond the event itself, said Fernández-Taranco, to ensure that what was agreed is actually being implemented, which makes the role of the mediators and special envoys crucial. This requires resources, expertise, political support, resolving technical issues and building capacities. 31


OIC NEWS

In the first visit by a UN secretary general to OIC Ban Ki-moon stresses UN-OIC strategic partnership institutions and the UN agencies, ongoing and future OIC-UN joint programs and activities and cooperation in the field of mediation and humanitarian assistance. “The UN highly values such strategic partnership and cooperative relationship in addressing all the spectrums of mutual goals and objectives,” said Ban to the press. Ban appreciated OIC’s support for the efforts of the joint special envoy to Syria Kofi Annan and the need to implement his six-point plan as well as OIC’s joining the seven UN agencies in carrying out the assessment mission in Syria in March and its participation in the humanitarian forum. He welcomed the OIC plan to establish an office in Yemen to support the humanitarian response there. The OIC had led on June 2 an international humanitarian mission to Yemen that included the UN, European Union, USAID, Gulf Cooperation Ihsanoglu and Ban Ki-moon during the press conference Council and the Arab League to assess the situation and raise Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Secretary General of the the profile of Yemen among donors. United Nations Ban Ki-moon visited the headquarters of the Ban also welcomed the establishment of the OIC Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on June 3, 2012, Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) the first official visit by a UN secretary and noted his pleasure that four of the general in the history of the OIC. Ban commission’s members are women. The Ki-moon expressed his great pleasure Ban Ki-moon welcomes IPHRC held its first session, chaired by in visiting the OIC and commended the opening of an a woman, in February in Indonesia with the leadership of its secretary general the participation of the Office of the UN OIC office in Yemen, High Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. The UN and Commissioner of Human Rights. OIC “together we are united in building establishment of “The Office of the United Nations High greater understanding among people, Commissioner for Human Rights will Human Rights and tolerance and cooperation among very closely cooperate with the OIC nations,” wrote Ban in the guest-signing Commission Human Rights Commission,” said Ban. book of the OIC. Ban concluded his statement to the Ban and Ihsanoglu had a constructive press by saying that he looks forward to meeting in which they discussed how to strengthen their exploring how the UN and OIC can collaborate even more strategic partnership and cooperative relationship in in advancing their common principles now and in the future. addressing various political areas particularly the Middle East “Peace demands that we build bridges between cultures and Peace Process, Syria, Darfur, Sudan, Sahel, Afghanistan and counter extremism,” he added. He encouraged OIC to expand Somalia. The two Secretaries General discussed issues of its valuable efforts to generate understanding, tolerance and mutual concern ranging from political to socio-economic and mutual respect between different cultures, civilizations and humanitarian domains including OIC-UN bilateral cooperation faiths. at the level of General Secretariat as well as between the OIC OIC and UN officials meeting at OIC Headquarters

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OIC and UN establish a timetabled framework for joint cooperation especially in Somalia, Syria, and finally in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), under the leadership Yemen, after sending a joint international of its Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, mission that included envoys from the United Nations along with representatives from the attempts to open up to new international European Union, Gulf Cooperation Council, partners to contribute to its efforts towards joint and the League of Arab States. and effective resolution and accomplishment various issues. The areas of cooperation between both sides During this year, five meetings have been include different sectors that require the efforts of the OIC subsidiary, affiliated and specialized scheduled between the OIC and the United organs and institutions, on such issues as Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), and counterterrorism, human rights and youth and the Organization for Security and Cooperation women initiatives, as well as following up in Europe (OSCE), in order for the OIC to have OIC-sponsored resolution 16/18 issued by the a deeper impact in international fora, in light of the political crises that haunt the Middle East. UN Security Council. The OIC spokesman added that there There has been already a “qualitative” was the will on part of the OIC and UN to coordination meeting between an OIC delegation implement the agreed upon programs through and UN counterpart in Geneva on May 3, 2012. cooperation that would eventually lead to According to the OIC official spokesman, establishing a model of unique relationships Ambassador Tariq Ali Bakhit, it was “the first time since consultative meetings between between international organizations. Ambassador Bakhit The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has the two sides started in the eighties of the last century that both the OIC and UN agree on a timetable for reiterated more than once that the OIC has become a strategic partner of the UN, and this resulted in signing a cooperation joint cooperation framework”. The plan of action developed in Geneva includes 45 agreement between the two sides in the humanitarian fields different sectors that represent 59 projects underway and 122 in New York, which took shape later in more than one event. programs that await more coordination and clarification for The International Refugees Conference held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, in early May 2012, was just one commendable further action. The humanitarian programs are the most prominent in model of cooperation and coordination between international these plans, in light of close cooperation between both sides, and regional organizations.

OIC-OSCE consultation focuses on Islamophobia, terrorism and human rights

Vienna, Austria – An OIC delegation visited the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna on June 18 for consultations that focused on issues related to Islamophobia, terrorism and human rights and how to cooperate on these issues. Both sides also discussed conflict resolution and mediation where the exchange of views and sharing experiences would be beneficial. Relations between the OIC and OSCE started in 2005 and have developed considerably through the past years. The OIC and OSCE expressed wishes to develop the relations to go beyond the usual exchange of views and visits to concrete areas of cooperation. Deliberations revolved around some future projects and forums that can be held jointly or in cooperation under the main headlines discussed in the meeting.

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OIC NEWS

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus seeks the support of OIC Member States

TRNC President Eroglu with OIC Secretary General

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said at a press conference that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) requested to open a permanent representative office for it in Jeddah, especially that it already enjoys an Observer Member status in the OIC. The Secretary General said that the OIC welcomes the request and will discuss it with the host country Saudi Arabia. Upon the invitation by the OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the President of the TRNC His Excellency Dr. Dervis Eroglu and his accompanying delegation paid an official visit to the OIC Headquarters in Jeddah on April 7, 2012. During the meeting with President Eroglu, Ihsanoglu reiterated the OIC’s enduring support to the Turkish Cypriot Muslims in the political, economic, social and cultural fields. They also exchanged views as to the ongoing cooperation between the OIC and TRNC and the ways to further enhance the OIC-TRNC relations. They reiterated their commitment to maintain close contacts and continue to strengthen cooperation between TRNC, and the OIC and its Member States through implementation of various projects, including in the fields of higher education, vocational training, tourism, and investment promotion. At the press conference that followed the meeting, the Secretary General expressed his strong support for a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus issue under the UN Secretary General’s good offices mission on the basis of a bi-zonal, bicommunal federal partnership based on political equality of the two constituent states of equal status. He also underlined his view that the negotiations cannot be open-ended as it is the

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Muslim Turkish Cypriots who remain the aggrieved side from the absence of a mutually agreed settlement. The Secretary General also called for putting an end to the unjust isolation of the Turkish Cypriots saying it is a priority for OIC. He called upon the OIC Member States and the Muslims around the world as well as the rest of the international community to strengthen effective solidarity and continue to expand relations with the Turkish Cypriot people. On his part, President Eroğlu thanked the OIC Secretary General for his invitation and for his strong support to the cause of the Turkish Cypriot people. He called for further cooperation between the TRNC and the Islamic world for the lifting of the unjust embargo and putting an end to the long-standing isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people. In this regard, he underlined the importance of the support by the Islamic world to provide impetus for a mutually agreed lasting settlement to the Cyprus issue. President Eroğlu also conveyed their request to open a representation in Jeddah to be accredited to the OIC as a way to further develop relations with the Islamic world. The Secretary General welcomed the proposal to open a Permanent Mission of TRNC to the OIC as one of its observer members and indicated that this will give an opportunity to expand channels of cooperation between the OIC and TRNC. Speaking to the OIC Journal, President Eroğlu said that he does not expect much from the ongoing negotiations with the Greek side because the Greeks do not need reconciliation being in the European Union, and the continuous negotiations harm the cause of TRNC because people are tired. He believes that complete independence could be the solution and that OIC Member States can support them in that regard. As for supporting them through investments, the President said that there are many investment opportunities including tourism sector, services and agriculture and that TRNC provides all the necessary incentives to facilitate investment. The only obstacle is direct transportation due to the unjust blockade.


OIC welcomes Kosovo’s application for membership Kosovo to get complete sovereignty in September

Kosovo’s Prime Minister and Ihsanoglu speaking to the press

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has welcomed the application tabled by the Republic of Kosovo to become an official and permanent member of the organization. The Secretary General of the OIC, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, met on 16 June 2012, in his office, with Hashim Thaçi, the Prime Minister of Kosovo. The Secretary General and the Prime Minister held formal consultations with the participation of their delegations. They exchanged of views on current issues and the role of Kosovo in ensuring peace and stability in the Balkans. In particular, they analyzed the detailed scenario of international support for Kosovo, its membership in different international and regional organizations and examined the ways and means to garner more support for Kosovo. Ihsanoglu commended the role of Kosovo to ensure lasting peace in the Balkans and welcomed the interest of Kosovo in the activities of the OIC. He also stressed on the need to further strengthen OIC-Kosovo bilateral relations, particularly in connection with welfare of the Muslims in the Balkan region and Kosovo’s expectations from the family of Islamic nations. Ihsanoglu told the press following the meeting that the OIC had since 1996 supported Kosovo’s right for independence. “Kosovo suffered a lot from injustice and repression under an administration that did not care for the political, religious and cultural rights of the people of the country. Now, after independence and the recognition of more than 90 countries including 30 OIC members, the organization looks forward to Kosovo soon becoming a member of the UN and the OIC,” he said. Thaci, on his part, appreciated the continued support of the OIC to his country until it gained independence and said he discussed with the Secretary General all the available means of further consolidating cooperation between Kosovo and the 57 OIC member countries. He said Kosovo maintained good relations with all countries of the region and was hoping to

have close ties with Serbia. The Prime Minister said the policies of his country, with more than 95 percent of its population Muslims, were in conformity with the general political stances of the Muslim countries. He explained that to be a member of the OIC, Kosovo should first be a member of the UN. “Kosovo is determined to further strengthen its ties with the OIC in the next phase,” he said. In a related development, Kosovo will acquire full sovereignty in September, the 25-nation International Steering Group (ISG) overseeing the territory’s independence announced on July 2 after a meeting in Vienna. The group said Kosovo, which broke away from Serbia in 2008, had fulfilled its commitments, “thereby setting the scene for ending supervised independence after the ISG’s meeting scheduled for September 2012.” In a statement, the ISG welcomed “the passing of the laws and amendments to implement the Comprehensive Settlement Proposal (CSP) package, including laws on cultural and religious heritage, community rights and decentralization.” “The ISG has determined that the CSP is substantially implemented and authorizes the final steps to end supervised independence and to close the International Civilian Office,” led by Dutch diplomat Pieter Feith, the group concluded. “The international supervision ends as of today,” Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger meanwhile said after the meeting, which was also attended by Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci. The 25-nation ISG includes several EU states besides Austria, as well as Turkey and the United States. In January, the steering group had announced that Kosovo had made such progress that the “supervised independence” could be lifted by the end of the year. The NATO-led peacekeeping force and European rule of law mission EULEX will however likely remain in place. The ISG stressed that “the principles and spirit that have governed the CSP need to continue... after ending supervised independence.” Kosovo and its two million-majority ethnic-Albanian population have been under some form of international administration since a NATO bombing campaign forced Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic’s forces out of the territory in 1999. On February 17, 2008, it unilaterally declared independence from Serbia and has been recognized by over 90 countries, including most EU nations. However, it continues to face opposition from Belgrade, Moscow and Kosovo’s ethnic Serbs, who make up about six percent of the population, living mainly in the north on the border with Serbia. Improving relations with Pristina is a key condition for Serbia to get a date for opening accession talks with the 27member European Union after Belgrade was accepted as a candidate in March. 35


OIC NEWS

Ihsanoglu’s visit to Beijing opens the door to stronger relations

China suggests a comprehensive cooperation plan with the OIC

Qinglin receiving Ihsanoglu and his accompanying delegation at the People’s Hall in Beijing

Aiman Abboushi Beijing, China – It was clear that the visit by the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to the People’s Republic of China on 27 June 2012, his second, has opened the door to a special kind of relationship between the Muslim world and China, which might become the basis for a permanent, frame-worked relationship. During his visit, the OIC Secretary General discussed with Head of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Jia Qinglin, the ways and means to expand relations between the OIC and the People’s Republic of China. Qinglin had received the OIC Secretary General at the People’s Hall in Beijing, on 28 June 2012, and had emphasized, on the occasion, the significant role played by the OIC in notching up these relations which, he hoped, would achieve even higher levels in future. Of significance was what Qinglin presented as the stages of a cooperation plan in three areas (economic, political and cultural), starting with joint development in economy, trade and power, and continuing with political cooperation driven by enhanced communications for joint action for the benefit of regional peace and stability. In addition to continued cooperation in terms of human resources and cultural aspects by intensifying joint conferences for exchanging expertise. In the course of the meeting, Qinglin also stressed the need for cohesive relations between the two parties to be sustained at all levels, under all circumstances. He further affirmed his country’s observance and respect for the Muslims’ freedom of worship, noting that many developmental programs had been implemented for the enhancement of the Muslims’ living conditions, particularly in the self-rule province of Xinxiang Uyghur, where programs are still ongoing, he added. On his part, Ihsanoglu underlined the OIC’s steady position regarding its follow-up of the affairs of Muslim 36

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Resolution 16/18.

Strategic relations:

monitories across the world as constituting an integral part of the Islamic Ummah, in addition to the OIC’s keen interest in maintaining relations with the Muslim minorities, and keeping their conditions under constant review, through direct contact with the official channels of the countries where those minorities are living. He also reasserted the OIC’s commitment to its Charter’s provisions as to noninterference in the internal affairs of those countries, and the preservation of their sovereignty, national borders and territorial integrity. He further expressed his great hopes regarding China’s participation in the Istanbul Process meetings launched in implementation of UNHRC

The Secretary General began his second visit to China, after his first historic visit in the summer of 2010, with a meeting with the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Zhai Jun, who underscored at the beginning of the meeting the close and strong ties between China and the Muslim world over the centuries. Ihsanoglu confirmed the same during his meeting with the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, in Riyadh last January, emphasizing that relations between China and the OIC must be strategic relations. At the meeting, the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister expressed his country’s keenness on boosting the outstanding economic and cultural ties with Islamic countries, pointing out that his country enjoys high confidence by the OIC Member States, in particular for its support for the crucial issues in the Middle East and the rights of these countries in international forums. He said that the Islamic countries are amongst the most important global trading partners for China, pointing out that the volume of trade exchange between the two sides reached half a trillion dollars in 2011 ranking second place after the European Union. For his part, Ihsanoglu stressed the need for strengthening economic and cultural relations between the OIC and its Member States on the one hand and China on the other hand. He pointed out to the Organization’s interest in developing joint programs to work out with the Chinese government similar to those programs that the OIC is collaborating on with the United States such as in the field of maternal and child health care. The Secretary General also urged the Chinese counterpart on the need to pay more attention to the cultural character of the historic city of Kashgar located in western China and


known for its history, heritage and Islamic culture. The Vice Foreign Minister emphasized his country’s keenness on the development of this region, stressing his country’s keenness to preserve places of worship in the city and its cultural character. He also stressed his country’s commitment to its development plan to raise the standard of living in west China and increase investment. On the other hand, the Vice Foreign Minister expressed his country’s desire to know the list of criteria required for becoming an Observer Member in the OIC, expressing hope that China could get this membership in the forthcoming meeting of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Djibouti. The Deputy Foreign Minister also requested the OIC

delegation to provide him with the necessary information on the Dakar – Port Sudan railway project, which was announced by the OIC during the Dakar summit in 2008.

Ihsanoglu visits Shanghai Cooperation Organization

On another front, Ihsanoglu met with Muratbek Imanaliyev, Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization at the Organization’s headquarters in Beijing, and reviewed with him ways and means to enhance bilateral cooperation. Ihsanoglu stated that there was ample room for the two organizations to work together and presented, on the occasion, an invitation to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to attend the forthcoming meeting of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers due to be held in Djibouti, in November 2012.

China-Muslim world Congress calls for bridging the gap between the two sides The ‘China-Muslim World Congress: Cultural Encounters’ was held in the Chinese capital Beijing on 28-29 June 2012 with the announcement that it will be held every two years to create a channel of communication for bridging the cultural gap and create better understanding between the two sides. In his address to the Congress, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said that OIC recognizes and respects the People’s Republic of China. It is considered a unitary multi-national state built up jointly by the people of all its nationalities, and the state protects the lawful rights and interests of the minority nationalities, upholds, and develops the relationship of equality, unity and mutual assistance among all of China’s nationalities. He also expressed his hope that today and in the future all the Chinese people enjoy their cultural rights and religious freedoms to practice their beliefs. Ihsanoglu added that it is notable that the Chinese authorities are promoting economic, political, cultural and social progress as well as ecological protection of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region with a goal to bring its regional per capita GDP up to the national average level by 2015. The Secretary General recalled that the OIC and China share common positions on many international issues and share concern regarding peace and prosperity in the Middle East region. Ihsanoglu stressed that throughout history, relations between China and the Muslim world have never faced substantial problems; and he emphasized that it is more important today that these relations be developed for the interest of stability in the world. The Secretary General asserted that it is important for these relations to be developed noting that the mutual bonds are deep and long term. He quoted the Chinese Prime Minister who during their meeting in January 2012 said, “The relationship between China and OIC is of strategic importance and will not be affected by any problems in the region”. In the same vein, Ihsanoglu pointed out that conducting the International Congress in Beijing is the product of many meetings and months of planning, in reference to his historical visit to China in 2010 and visits by delegations of both sides. Ihsanoglu concluded by expressing his confidence that this

Congress will contribute greatly to the reinforcement of the bonds of friendship and harmony among China and the OIC. The three-day congress addressed countless aspects of cultural contacts and exchanges between China and the Muslim world from trade and travelers having moved between China and the Muslim countries to the arts and architectural influences, from translations of Islamic and Chinese philosophical and scientific works into each other’s languages to the present development of language studies and cultural relations. Furthermore, because of the presence of scholars invited by IRCICA (OIC Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture) from Asia, Arab countries, Europe and the US as well as Chinese academics, the congress reflected the state of research and teaching on these subjects not only in the Muslim world but globally. The Congress called on the need for exchange of scientific missions and academic visits to increase cultural understanding and knowledge exchange between China and the OIC Member States seven of which are neighboring China. The participants recommended holding the second ChinaMuslim World Congress at IRCICA premises in Istanbul. The research papers presented at the Congress by 30 scholars will be published in a book to be added to the references of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and IRCICA, the co-organizers of the Congress. 37


OIC NEWS

The 9th US Islamic World Forum focuses on changes and challenges in the Muslim world Doha, Qatar – The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani delivered the keynote address at a Gala Dinner at the opening of the 9th annual US-Islamic Forum on May 28, 2012. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), also spoke at the Gala Dinner. The annual forum is convened by the Brookings Institute in Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem partnership with Qatar. The three-day Forum was themed ‘New Voices, New Directions’. It featured emerging leaders from across the Muslim world and discussed political change in the Arab countries, the leading forces inspiring and shaping cultural development across the Muslim world, the power of non-state actors, and the new geopolitical challenges. The OIC hosted a welcoming reception in which the US President’s Special Representative to the OIC Rashad Hussein spoke about the US-OIC partnership in various areas and praised OIC’s role. Sheikh Hamad took the opportunity at the Forum to urge Washington to do more to help the people of Syria. The PM stressed the need for close cooperation between the West and the Arab and Islamic world to help resolve the Syrian crisis. “We don’t want to interfere in the problems of Syria. We only want what is best for its people,” the Prime Minister said in his address at the Gala Dinner. Talking about the US-Islamic Forum, he said the idea to hold this event annually was mooted after 9/11 and the idea was to help bridge the gap between the west and the Arab and Muslims. “This (gap) is in the interest of some,” said the PM. There is trust deficit between the West and the Arab and Islamic world and the main reason behind the gap is the Palestinian issue. The idea was to bridge the gap between the Arab and Islamic world on the one hand and Israel on the other to aid the Middle East peace process. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called in her remarks for joint efforts of all states to face the twin challenges of poverty and terrorism to secure global peace and harmony for future generations. Meanwhile, the OIC Secretary General stressed in his speech that the ongoing political and ensuing economic crisis in the Middle East and North Africa have engaged the OIC in vigorous efforts to bring about political stability by promoting good governance, democracy, rule of law, human rights and 38

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Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu

tolerance. Ihsanoglu pointed out that the greatest challenge facing the new governments in the Arab and Muslim world is to bring about political stability and build a civil society based on human rights and social justice while ensuring the right to livelihood and the provision of economic growth and basic sustenance for their citizens. Furthermore, with the current instability in the global economy, a real challenge facing the new leaders will be meeting the unmet needs and expectations

of their own citizens. Another area in which the OIC is putting great effort is humanitarian and human development programs in its Member States through concrete and practical programs, including poverty alleviation, education, science and technology, and empowering women. On many of these issues, the OIC has developed strategic partnerships and close cooperation with the United States, for example, launching joint programs to eradicate polio and promote maternal and child health in Mali and Bangladesh. Another example of the US-OIC cooperation is the joint effort to combat intolerance, discrimination, and incitement to violence, based on religion or belief. The OIC had been successful for more than a decade in the adoption of a resolution on Defamation of Religions at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and at the UN General Assembly despite opposition from certain quarters who perceived it to be Islam-centric and designed to restrict freedom of speech. The OIC continued to remain engaged with the US and others in Europe to reach a common ground that would meet the concerns of both sides and take a common position that would help in combating interfaith intolerance. This resulted in the historic consensual adoption of UN HRC Resolution 16/18 in Geneva in 2011 under the title “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion and belief.” In conclusion, Ihsanoglu said that now it is time to implement the resolution in its letter and spirit. He also said that the people of the Muslim world have awakened and their voices have risen and their views must be respected. He further added that while many nations across the region are celebrating the opportunity to have real change in their societies, Palestinians are still waiting for their true freedom and justice, and that this is the right time for the US to cooperate and engage in a flexible and multilateral manner.


Brookings Institution Convenes its 9th Annual U.S. Islamic World Forum «New Voices, New Directions» by Durriya H. Badani

In late May, the Brookings Institution Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World in partnership with the State of Qatar, convened its 9th annual U.S. Islamic World forum. - «New Voices, New Directions.» This annual forum is a signature event of the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and serves as the premier platform for candid dialogue and frank engagement between the U.S. and global Muslim communities. Each year, the forum brings together distinguished participants comprised of policy makers and officials, thought leaders and activists, entrepreneurs and journalists a variety of public and private sessions. This year noted speakers included Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkul Karman, Tunisian activist Rached Ghannouchi, Palestinian mediator Saeb Erekat, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Saudi Religious Advisor Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah. The theme for the forum was, «New Voices, New Directions.» Last year, during the «Arab Awakening,» we witnessed ordinary citizens take steps towards extraordinary political and social change. Now, as citizens from Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen continue on that uncertain path, we see the challenges that are being faced - from the design and formation of new political constitutions and parties, assessing the role of the religious clergy and institutions in these new states, and ensuring the representation of minorities, including women. Through keynote addresses from distinguished officials, plenary sessions, and a signature event entitled, «The Long Conversation,» the 2012 forum examined the impact of these transformations for governments and citizens as well as strategic implications for the United States. The Forum also convened discussions on the forthcoming U.S. presidential elections and its implications for change in

Middle East policy, and the significant role of arts and culture as a vehicle of expression in the region. Finally, the forum also brought together a set of four focused working groups bringing together practitioners from specific fields to develop practical partnerships and policy recommendations. This year working groups focused on water security in the MENA; donor challenges in making charitable contributions to Islamic organizations, religious leaders building consensus on the “Charter of Compassion,” and new emerging Islamist political voices in the MENA. Papers from each of the working groups will be available shortly to the broader policy audience. We were pleased to have OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu deliver a keynote address for the opening Gala dinner for the forum. In his remarks, the Secretary General emphasized the importance of values of moderation and tolerance among global Muslim communities, in contrast to resorting to violence and extremism as a means of expression. The Secretary General also underscored the importance of collective support for the democratic transitions underway in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. He further outlined initiatives undertaken by the OIC including: fostering increased economic and scientific and investment cooperation among the members states; raising awareness and resources to combat the famine in Somalia; encouraging greater political and economic participation of women within the MENA and collective action and collaboration among the Muslim global community. Through formal dialogues and greater informal discussions, the forum has served to build relationships and partnerships built on mutual trust and respect, which truly has been one of the greatest successes of the forum. Designed to respond to some of the profound questions that the attacks of September 11 raised for U.S. policy makers, the Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, housed within the Saban Center for Middle Eastern Policy, seeks to engage and inform policymakers, practitioners, and the broader public on developments in Muslim countries and communities and on the nature of their relationship with the United States. As the largest, most widely cited think tank in the U.S., Brookings has had major impact on policymaking for nearly a century through producing and disseminating research, conniving and hosting events, and serving as a catalyst for positive action and partnerships. For additional information on the 2012 U.S. Islamic World Forum or to learn more broadly about the Project, please visit www.brookings.edu. ................................................................................. Durriya Badani serves as the Deputy Director for the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, housed within the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, at the Brookings Institution.

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Timeline

April:

Kazakhstan deposits Instrument Ratification for the OIC Charter

of

Ambassador Bakhyt Batyrshayev, Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the OIC, on 16 April 2012 deposited the Instrument of Ratification of his country for the OIC Charter.

OIC and South Africa discuss strengthening bilateral relations

The Secretary General of the OIC, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has on 30 April, received in his office, Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, the Deputy Minister for International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa and his accompanying delegation. The Secretary General and his guest, whose country is a member of the UN Security Council, held useful and extensive exchange of views on current regional and international issues of common concern. In particular, they discussed the situation in Africa and the Middle East. On his part, Ihsanoglu commended the role of South Africa in international affairs, welcomed the interest of South Africa in the activities of the OIC, and stressed on the need to further strengthen OIC-South Africa bilateral relations based on mutual interest.

May:

UAE Foreign Minister praises OIC’s effective regional and international role

His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Ibn Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, on 7 May received the Secretary General of the OIC, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who was on an official visit to the UAE from 6-8 May 2012. During the meeting, the UAE Foreign Minister praised the effective role of the OIC in the regional and international arena, underscoring particularly the important achievements of the recent years in joint Islamic action. His Highness also emphasized the determination of the United Arab Emirates to continue to support the activities and initiatives of the OIC.

OIC observers monitor Algerian Legislative Elections

A team of observers from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation monitored, on 10 May, the Legislative Elections of Algeria. The OIC observer team was composed of representatives from Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mauritania, Pakistan, Palestine, Tunisia and Turkey and included parliamentarians, diplomats, academicians as well as election experts. After monitoring the elections in a number of polling stations, the OIC observers noted with satisfaction that the Algerian elections 40

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were held in an organized, transparent and peaceful manner. The group has not recorded irregularities or violations of the Algerian Election Law and Regulations. The OIC observers conveyed the congratulations of Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu to the President and the People of Algeria for holding successful and democratic elections, which constitute an important and decisive step towards strengthening democracy in Algeria and will contribute building a prosperous future for this nation.

The President of Niger calls for more attention to the Sahel region

The President of Niger H.E. Issoufou Mahamadou received in audience on 13 May, in Jeddah, an OIC delegation led by the Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs Ambassador Hameed Opeloyeru. President Mahamadou briefed on his agenda for developments and the deteriorating situation prevailing in the Sahel region, which he said needed serious attention and engagement from the OIC and the international community.

Ihsanoglu calls for calm and self-restraint in Lebanon

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu called on 21 May on all Lebanese parties to exhibit calm and self-restraint and to put the higher interest of Lebanon above all considerations. He urged them to work together to restore security, stability in Lebanon and national harmony in the country for the good and glory of all sections of the Lebanese people.

OIC Chief discusses situation in Arab world with Representative of Russian President

The Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu received on 24 May, in his office Mikhail Bogdanov, the Special Representative of President Putin and the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation along with his accompanying delegation. The Secretary General and his guest held useful and extensive exchange of views on current regional and international issues. In particular, they discussed the Middle East Peace Process and the current situation in the Arab world, specially the situation in Syria and Yemen. Ihsanoglu welcomed the interest of the Russian Federation in the activities of the OIC. He also stressed on the need to further strengthen OIC-Russia bilateral relations based on mutual interest, particularly in connection with the country’s Muslim population.

President of Guinea discusses with the Secretary General issues of common interest

H.E. Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Guinea, received the Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu in audience at Jeddah Conference Palace on 26 May. Discussions during the meeting revolved around a number of issues of common interest as well as the diverse challenges facing the OIC Member States, including the situation in the Sahel and West Africa regions. The Secretary General lauded the democratization process underway in the Republic of


Guinea, and urged the country to complete the democratic transition. The President of the Republic of Guinea assured the Secretary General of the commitment of his Government to boost OIC-Guinean bilateral relations.

The President of Senegal receives the OIC Secretary General

The President of the Republic of Senegal, H.E. Macky Sall received in audience on 28 May, in Jeddah, the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and his accompanying delegation. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu conveyed his congratulations to the President for his election. He raised issues pertaining to intra-OIC trade, agricultural cooperation and the railways project between Dakar and Port Sudan. President Sall urged the OIC to focus more attention on the West African Sahel Region, which is currently facing serious challenges.

June:

President of Azerbaijan praises OIC’s effective regional and international role

H.E. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, on 4 June received the Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who was on an official visit to Azerbaijan from 4 -5 June 2012. During the meeting, the President praised the effective role of the OIC in the regional and international arena. Ihsanoglu reiterated OIC’s unequivocally support to Azerbaijan on the issue of occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. The Secretary General also met with Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, and Oktay Asadov, the Speaker of the National Assembly (Parliament).

OIC deplores the statement denying genocide in Srebrenica

The Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu in a statement on June 7 deploring the recent statement made by the new Serbian President denying genocide in Srebrenica on July 11, 1995. Recalling the final and binding verdicts of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Secretary General referred to the declaration issued by the Serbian parliament in March 2010 and pointed out that the declaration was an important step toward reconciliation between the peoples of Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Secretary General reiterated the OIC’s position in supporting initiatives aiming at consolidating the culture of peaceful coexistence in the Balkans region. He pointed out that denying facts and realities on the ground would be certainly detrimental to the efforts to promote stability and reconciliation in the region.

Ihsanoglu lauds Tatarstan’s efforts to restore Islamic heritage

President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov received the Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu on 8 June in Kazan, Tatarstan. The Secretary General visited Tatarstan upon the invitation by the President to attend as a guest of

honor the traditional celebration «Izge Bolgar zhyeny», honoring the 1123rd anniversary of the official adoption of Islam in Volga Bulgaria region. The two reviewed the excellent and fruitful relations between the OIC and Tatarstan under the broad framework of cooperation between the OIC and the Russian Federation. Ihsanoglu lauded the efforts made by the Government of Tatarstan to restore the historical and heritage sites bearing testimony of Muslim culture and civilization in the region. During the visit, the Secretary General also inaugurated the 3rd All Russia Forum of Tatar Religious Figures, which was held under the theme “National Identity and Religion”. The programs of the visit also include participation in the reopening of the ancient city of Bulgar and newly restored White Mosque Complex in Bulgar.

OIC deeply saddened by the Passing of HRH Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was deeply saddened by the passing of HRH Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz, the Crown Prince, Deputy Premier, Minister of the Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who passed away on 16 June 2012. Prince Nayef was one of the great leaders of the Muslim Ummah who generously devoted his life to serving his country and the entire Muslim Ummah. On this painful occasion, the OIC Secretary General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, addressed a cable of condolences to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, expressing his heartfelt condolences to the members of the royal family and the Saudi people.

OIC condemns attacks on churches and calls for restraint in Nigeria

The Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has expressed his strong condemnation of the bombings on 17 June of churches in Kaduna and Zaria and the subsequent reprisals on innocent persons, which led to the death of tens of people and the injury of hundreds of others. Ihsanoglu reiterated his firm rejection of violence targeting religious sites and worshippers, which he said had no place under any religion. The Secretary General appealed for calm and restraint from all Nigerians in order to avoid worsening an already complicated situation and shun acts and pronouncements that could ignite a sectarian conflict in their country.

OIC Secretary General discusses regional issues with the Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg

The Secretary General of the OIC, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, met on 17 June in his office, with Jean Asselborn, the Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The 41


Secretary General and his guest held a useful and extensive exchange of views on current issues. In particular, they had detailed discussions on the Middle East Peace Process and other regional issues and agreed to work together on matters of mutual concern. On his part, Ihsanoglu briefed the Minister about the OIC, its activities and its role in promoting Islamic solidarity, political, social, economic development and advancement of women in Member States. He also stressed on the need of mutual cooperation to fight radicalism, extremism and Islamophobia and sought the cooperation of Luxembourg in particular and EU in General in this regard.

Ihsanoglu congratulates Prince Salman ibn Abdulaziz on his appointment as Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

The Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu dispatched a cable of congratulations to HRH Prince Salman ibn Abdulaziz on his appointment as Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. M ​ inister of External Relations and

Cooperation of the Union of the Comoros signs OIC agreements

Assistant Secretary General for Science and Technology Ambassador Abdul Moiz Bokhari, received on 30 June Mohamed Bakri Ben Abdoulfatah Charif, the Minister of External Relations and Cooperation of the Union of the Comoros. Welcoming the visiting Foreign Minister on behalf of the OIC Secretary General, Ambassador Bokhari exchanged views on various issues of common concern. The meeting was followed by a signing ceremony wherein the Minister signed nine different OIC agreements on behalf of his country including the ‘Agreement on Promotion, Protection and Guarantee of Investments in the Member States’ and ‘Convention of the Islamic Conference on Combating International Terrorism’.

July:

The OIC participates in a UN workshop on combating incitement to terrorist acts

The OIC participated in the activities of the second special workshop in the Maghreb and Sahel region on the implementation of UN resolution No. 1624 of 2005 on combating incitement to terrorist acts. The UN CounterTerrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) organized the workshop on 17-19 July 2012 in Rabat, Morocco. The workshop brought together representatives of the Governments of Maghreb and Sahel States, in addition to experts and representatives of a number of international and regional organizations, NGOs and civil society institutions. 42

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The discussions during the workshop’s sessions focused on challenges related to combating terrorism, how to effectively address incitement to terrorist acts, the advance patterns that terrorist acts are taking, in addition to examining the ways to promote short and long terms cooperation between Maghreb and Sahel States for capacity building in the field of combating terrorism and incitement to terrorist acts.

OIC rejects so-called “Presidential elections” in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh

OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has expressed the OIC’s rejection of the so-called “Presidential elections” in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan scheduled on 19 July 2012. The Secretary General further emphasized the OIC’s continuous support to achieve a just and peaceful settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the basis of respect for the principles of territorial integrity of states and inviolability of internationally recognized borders.

August: The OIC Secretary General holds talks with the President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has received on 8 August 2012 Serdar Mohamed Yakoub Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The Secretary General reiterated the special attention accorded by the OIC to the cause of the Kashmiri people and the OIC’s determination to continue its support to the aspirations of the Kashmiri people to self-determination and finding a peaceful solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, which lasted more than six decades. On his part, President Serdar Mohamed Yakoub Khan expressed his gratitude for the OIC’s continued support to the endeavors aimed at reaching a solution to the Kashmir dispute and its continued attention to the conditions of the Kashmiri people. He commended the OIC’s support to the Kashmiri people and their right to self-determination in various international fora. The Kashmiri delegation had met with Ambassador Abdullah A. Alim, Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and the Special Representative of the OIC Secretary General to Jammu and Kashmir. The meeting discussed several issues related to the dossier of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, foremost of which the situation of human rights in the Indian controlled part of Kashmir and the need to promote the work of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir. The Special Representative of the OIC Secretary General reaffirmed the OIC’s preparedness to continue its endeavors to find a negotiated and durable solution to the Kashmir dispute.


HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS

55 million Muslims in disaster and $68 billion in losses in 2011 Dubai, UAE – The Muslim world is increasingly in the “eye of the cyclone”, with disasters and crises affecting tens of millions of people in Muslim countries last year, according to the Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Atta Elmanan Bakhit . In 2011, 38 of the 57 OIC member countries and 55 million people were affected by “disasters and chronic emergencies”, Ambassador Bakhit said at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition on April 6. Disasters brought a total financial loss of US$68 billion in those Muslim countries, he said, quoting figures that will be published in OIC’s annual report.

These numbers do not include political crises, namely the Arab Spring, and are tabulated based on information from Member States. They are up from 2010 when 36 countries and 48 million people were affected, with $53 billion in losses, according to an OIC survey. “In the Muslim world now, we have regularly a lot of disasters,” Bakhit said, adding that the OIC has had no choice but to start playing a larger role in humanitarian affairs. The OIC is active in coordinating humanitarian assistance in Somalia, where it has access in many areas Western aid workers do not; and along with the UN, the OIC accompanied the government in the first humanitarian assessment of areas affected by the unrest in Syria.

Niger, OIC sign two agreements on development projects

Amb. Atta El Mannan (L) and Minister Mohamed sign the agreements

Niamey, Niger – The OIC signed with the Government of Niger on 15 June 2012 two agreements concerning 46 new projects to be implemented in the regions of Niamey, Tillaberi, Dosso, and Maradi at a total cost of USD 2,700,848. A delegation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) led by the Assistant Secretary General of Humanitarian Affairs, Ambassador Atta El Manaan Bakhit, visited Niger from 11 to 16 June 2012. The OIC mission came in follow-up and implementation of the recommendations of the Doha Conference on Food SelfSufficiency in Niger, which was organized in June 2007 in Qatar. The aim of the Conference was to take concrete measures to meet the needs of vulnerable populations in terms of agriculture, water and environment protection. During its stay in Niger, the OIC delegation visited and reviewed two development projects financed in the localities of Tillare Gandatche and Ganganora in the domains of agriculture and environment protection respectively at a total cost of USD 244,305. It is worth noting here that the two projects whose financing was made available in June 2010 were delayed due to some obstacles beyond the control of the OIC.

The OIC delegation also visited other sites where future agricultural, fish farming and water projects will be implemented within the framework of the 2012-2013 program, namely in the localities of Gantchi, Saga, Gourou Bi, Dianoye, Diadjire, Saga Gourou, Kongo Gourou, Kara, KissingKissing, Guileleil, etc. It should also be noted that in May 2010, the OIC, in collaboration with OPVN, distributed 2,000 tones of millet to the needy populations in Tillaberi, Dosso, Tahoua, Agadez and Zinder, 400 tones for each locality concerned. The total cost of this emergency assistance was USD 983,803. In view of the foregoing, the OIC Secretary General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu directed the OIC delegation dispatched to Niamey to sign on 15 June 2012 two agreements concerning 46 new projects to be implemented in the regions of Niamey, Tillaberi, Dosso, and Maradi at a total cost of USD 2,700,848. The official signing ceremony took place in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was attended by the head of the Nigerien diplomacy, the Minister of State, Bazoum Mohamed. The latter lauded the exemplary character of the ongoing cooperation between his country and the OIC. He exhorted the OIC to help consolidate the achievements in terms of peace and development in the Republic of Niger and the larger Sahel region, which is facing enormous challenges. The members of the OIC delegation also met with the Prime Minister of Niger, Brigi Rafini. They outlined to him the objectives of the mission as well as the financial resources that will be provided with a view to translating the aspirations of development of the Nigerien people into reality. For his part, the Prime Minister thanked the OIC Secretary General for his steady efforts in favor of Niger and reiterated his country’s readiness and willingness to work in close collaboration with the Muslim Ummah in order to find a permanent solution to the nagging problem of food selfsufficiency from which Niger has been suffering since its independence. He underscored that Niger enjoys considerable assets which may help make its agriculture more competitive. 43


OIC NEWS

The Islamic Solidarity Fund suffers from lack of resources Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Secretary General of the and generosity. The Kingdom has decided to allocate a plot of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin land to the Fund in the city of Jeddah. This topic has entered Ihsanoglu called for finding appropriate solutions to expand the final phase in preparation for submission to the attention the sources of income for the Islamic Solidarity Fund of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for approval. (ISF), which has been suffering for several years from a Ihsanoglu expressed deep thanks and gratitude to the severe lack of resources, unprecedented since its inception. Governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE for their generous The Secretary General said at the opening of the fifty-sixth pledges to support the resources of the Fund and its Waqf this session of the Permanent Council of the Islamic Solidarity year. He also thanked the countries that donated to the Fund Fund of the OIC at the General Secretariat in Jeddah on May during the past period. 22, 2012, that the achievements and activities of the Fund in For his part, Ambassador Nasser Abdullah bin Hamdan Al the recent period is to be proud of. Zaabi, Chairman of the Permanent Council of the ISF, said the “It causes us to redouble our efforts to seek support Fund’s accomplishments during the past 38 years are plenty. and assistance to diversify sources of income and to He pointed out that assistance was provided to 80 projects; carry out its responsibilities at all levels and cope with what is seen in some Muslim countries of events.” the most prominent project is supporting some Islamic He said that his talk with His Royal Highness Prince Saud universities, helping victims of the hurricane in Bangladesh, Al Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, was the Eye Hospital in Gaza, and helping the victims of hurricane fruitful where Saudi Arabia has responded with all kindness Washe in the Philippines and other projects.

Lively discussions continue at OIC Library Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - After the success of first three talks, OIC Library Lecture Series continued in April and May 2012. The OIC Library had two professors from the USA and Saudi Arabia who took the discussion to completely different areas and contributed to the growth of the series. Professor Turan Kayaoglu (University of Washington and fellow at Doha Centre) gave on 22 April the 4th lecture in the series. His lecture entitled “Islam in the United Nations: the Liberal Limits of Secularism or Why the Defamation of Religions Failed”. Professor Kayaoglu touched on the issues, like liberal language Muslims choose to use in the United Nations and the OIC’s role in the process. Muslim NGO’s and OIC’s relation with them to represent Muslims in the United Nations to negotiate or to find solutions for Muslims’ problems around the world were also discussed in his talk. The lecture generated a very lively discussion and continued longer than the scheduled time. The 5th library lecture took place on 26 May at the meeting

room at the OIC Headquarters. The talk was given by Professor Hatim Al-Tahawy from Faculty of Arts, K. F. U. Hofuf, Saudi Arabia, entitled “Islamic Conquest of Constantinople 1453: A Study of Contemporary Sources”. Professor Al-Tahawy started his talk with a brief explanation of history of Constantinople in Byzantine Empire. He then continued with the old relation between Muslims and Constantinople. Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Constantinople in 1453. Professor Tahawy talked about capturing the city in detail before he moved on to contemporary sources. He compared the Ottoman and the Christian sources, and found more Christian materials on the battle. Constantinople had its own historians who wrote a lot more about the city and the great battle than Ottomans. Both lectures were well attended by audience from within the OIC and outside, and a lot of questions were raised. The series will carry on after the summer in September and OIC library will continue to have speakers from various fields.

OIC hosts AoC Fellows

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The OIC General Secretariat, as a partner of the UN Alliance of Civilizations (AoC) Fellowship Program, hosted twelve European and North American Fellows from 10 to 14 April 2012. The objective of the program is to enhance knowledge and understanding between peoples and societies from Muslim-majority countries, mainly from the Arab World, and from Europe and North America. The program exposes emerging leaders from those regions to the diverse realities and cultural, political and religious environments of the “other” societies. Fellows from Muslim countries visit countries in Europe and the United States while leaders from North America/Europe typically visit one country in the Mashreq, one country in the Maghreb, and one country in the Gulf. 44

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The AoC delegation was headed by Jean Christophe Bas, the AoC director, who was received in a meeting by Ambassador Vefahan Ocak, Director General of Cabinet, on 12 April 2012, to discuss issues of mutual interest. The AoC has four areas of actions, namely education, media, migration and youth, and while in Jeddah, the Fellows had opportunity to exchange views with institutions related to the aforesaid areas of actions, including the Islamic Development Bank, Dar al-Hikma College, King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue, Arab News newspaper and Sayidaty magazine, and some local civil society organizations. The general feeling among the Fellows was that the program had been important in improving the understanding of the OIC, some of its institutions, and Saudi Arabia in general.


The importance of library users By Humeyra Ceylan Izhar

In the past, the quality of a library was based on the size of collection since the collection size was seen as the determining factor for membership. The focus was more on what the library has rather than what the library offers to its users. However, the global digital revolution transformed the traditional forms of the creation, organizing and dissemination of knowledge and the world of learning and research. The library focus has been expanded; and conducting customerbased services and meeting users’ expectations have become equally important in libraries. The need for careful and thorough evaluation of the services provided and the application of evidence-based management techniques have become obvious. Libraries put a great effort to offer useful, relevant, attractive services to their users, and also they measure their users’ satisfaction by regular surveys. Satisfying users’ needs in the libraries is one of the primary objectives of libraries and librarians today. It is libraries’ responsibility to check how well a service is doing, and to identify areas of potential improvement. Evidence is also required to support the work of existing services and developing new ones according to the need. Service should be considered as a relationship between the library users and the library. However, it is not the end result but the means. The end result is related to what the users receive, how they use the information and how satisfied they are. As mentioned above, the core activity in libraries today is not only the collection or what the library has but also the people who are served. There is a variety of options in measuring the effectiveness of service to users and collect evidence for this purpose. These include maintenance of statistics, user satisfaction surveys, focus groups, advisory committees, assessment of progress on long range plan etc. User satisfaction surveys are used widely by libraries, more specifically LibQUAL+ ™ User Survey which was developed at the end of 90s and spread around the world to understand users’ opinion on service quality. In December 2011, the OIC Library conducted its first user satisfaction survey to identify users’ needs and to

measure how satisfied users are with the library services and how much they know about the library facilities. The survey was also used as a marketing tool to inform library users about various activities. Initially it was piloted among the library committee and 100 usable responses were received during 3 weeks in December 2011 and analyzed. The survey was designed online using survey monkey and the users were informed via email. The survey was also distributed to each office at the OIC Headquarters to receive more answers. Generally, the respondents are content with the library services as quarter of the respondents indicated that they use the library several times per week and half of them said at least once in a month. Conducting a survey was a good communication tool as the users were able to put their own comments for each questions. Some areas were repeated by most respondents to be improved such as opening hours, library environment, library news, more information about the services and specific collections like more dictionaries, more French books or more books on translation etc. which are valuable feedback for the development of the library. As the users requested more information about the library and what it offers, library induction sessions were organized for each department over a period of 2 months with power point presentation. The users were able to see the collection related to their areas and borrow more books as the borrowing facility doubled after the inductions. The other activity that was introduced is the Library e-Newsletter. With the e-newsletter the users will be more informed about the library activities, the collection, international library news and the impact of having a library in an international organization. Library Current Awareness (LCA) emails were also designed to communicate with the users mainly about new library collection. It can be very challenging to learn what matters to users or their expectations and how to use the result to improve the service delivery. At the same time searching for the users’ needs using surveys can provide opportunities for libraries to achieve service quality. As a special research library at OIC, collection development and newly introduced communication tools made a good impact in terms of increased usage of the collection and users involvement with the library. Nevertheless, service development is a continuing process and there are always rooms for more improvement to deal with the users’ shifting needs in this age. ...................................................................................... Bibliography: Altman, Ellen and Hernon, Peter, Assessing Service Quality: Satisfying the Expectations of Library Customers, London: American Library Association, 1998. Hernon, Peter and Whitman, John R. Delivering Satisfaction and Service Quality: A Customer Based Approach for Libraries, London: American Library Association, 2001 http://www.liv.ac.uk/library/using/surveys.html

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Media 9th Islamic Conference of Information Ministers

OIC to establish a Media Forum

President of Gabon Odimba and Ihsanoglu

Libreville, Gabon – The Gabonese Republic hosted in its beautiful capital city of Libreville the 9th Session of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers (ICIM) from 17 to 20 April 2012 under the theme of “Information Technologies in the Service of Peace and Development”. The Conference discussed a number of important issues with the aim to boost the information sector of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The OIC Information Conference, which was the first OIC Ministerial Conference held in Gabon, issued significant resolutions with a clear-cut time-frame for implementation. H.E. Haj Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Republic of Gabon inaugurated the Conference, which was attended by delegations from around 40 OIC Member States and chaired by Blaisse Louembe, Minister of Digital Economy, Communications and Post of Gabon. The Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu announced in his statement at the Conference that a proposal to develop a media program on Africa would be implemented over the next 3 years. He noted that the program, which aims to promote the African continent and its position in the Islamic world will include, among other things, holding media seminars and creating documentaries that highlight the continent’s great potential and investment opportunities. The Secretary General stressed the need to interact with foreign media through the implementation of the OIC’s strategy to fight Islamophobia, which fuelled by misconceptions about 46

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Islam and Muslims, and incites hatred and discrimination against them on religious and ethnic grounds. He emphasized the initiatives of the OIC and the UN in this regard. “We have submitted several key media-related proposals for consideration at this Session to further advance Islamic media action and reinforce coordination of media affairs within the OIC. The proposals include the establishment of an OIC-affiliated Muslim Media Forum and launching an OIC satellite in response to the constant requests that the General Secretariat received from the general Muslim public, the private sector, and the civil society in the Member States,” said the Secretary General. H.E. President Haj Ali Bongo Odimba praised the huge efforts exerted by the Secretary General to hold the 9th ICIM Session in the Republic of Gabon, and commended his approach to running the OIC. The Conference unanimously endorsed a resolution on the establishment of an OIC Satellite Channel that, once established, will contribute towards enhancing Islamic solidarity particularly in the domain of culture, trade, industry, tourism, education, etc. A special meeting will be held in September 2012 at the OIC Headquarters in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to discuss details related to the establishment of the Channel. The Information Ministers also decided to establish an OIC Media Forum that will endeavor to unite journalists, foster communication among them and strengthen cooperation and


partnership with the international federations of journalists. Among others, the Forum also took decisions to facilitate cooperation and develop specific mechanisms in Joint Islamic Media Action. The Ministerial Conference supported the OIC-affiliated Computer Emergency Response Team (OIC-CERT) and also decided to enhance the OIC Islamic Broadcasting Regulatory Authorities Forum (IBRAF), which will convene an important meeting in October 2012 at the OIC Headquarters in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Another essential resolution was issued at the Session in support of the Global Digital Solidarity Fund that encouraged the Fund and the OIC General Secretariat to launch a major program for the provision of 500,000 computer sets for the Least Developed OIC Member States and provide training in information technology to these countries. It also decided to support the Least Developed OIC Member States wishing to finance and execute information technology and communication projects. At the Conference, a special resolution on media program dedicated to Africa to highlight the continent’s position and role in the Muslim world during the Gabon’s Chairmanship of the 9th ICIM was unanimously endorsed. The special program calls for the projection of the capacities and the role which the African Member States of OIC can play in promoting Islamic solidarity through a dedicated media program in Africa that would highlight the continent’s position in the Muslim world. Among the many activities of the said program is holding a media forum to be hosted by an African Member State of the OIC, which would discuss investment opportunities and shed light on its huge and latent potentials in order to contribute to improving Africa’s image in the media. An exhibition, a documentary film as well as folkloric and cultural presentations will be held on the sidelines of the forum to project Africa’s capabilities. Other projects to be considered include preparation of a short documentary film on investment potentials and opportunities in the African states concerned. In addition, a media campaign alongside with public relations campaign for the Dakar – Port Sudan Railway Line Project will be considered within this special media program to highlight the investment importance of actualizing this historic project. On the issue of Palestine, the Information Conference appealed to all OIC Member States to provide urgent assistance to the Palestinian National Authority to support, rebuild and upgrade the capacities of the Palestinian Ministry of Information, the Radio and Television Board, and the Palestinian news agency with headquarters, installations and equipment, and to exchange programs and experiences with it in various fields. The Conference invited the Member States and their mass media to continue enlightening public opinion about the Palestinian issue by providing maximum media coverage for all aspects of life in the occupied Palestinian land, and highlight the destructive impact left by Israel, the occupying power, and its violation of international law, human rights and war crimes it committed and continues to commit. Furthermore, the Information Conference called on the Member States to provide space in their media to highlight the continued aggression by Israel on the City of Al-Quds and its sanctuaries, including practices targeted at Judaizing the Holy City. The Conference called on the media in the Member

States to dedicate the last Friday of the month of Ramadan every year as “Al-Quds Day” with programs focusing on the importance of the City of Al-Quds Al-Shareef. It also invited the Member States to provide full media support to Palestine’s request for accession to membership of the United Nations and its other international organizations offshoots, and to spread awareness about this Palestinian effort and its importance in achieving Palestinian national rights.

Ihsanoglu holds talks with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Gabon

The Secretary General of the OIC Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu met on 19 April 2012, in Libreville, the Prime Minister of Gabon Raymon Ndong Sima. The two parties discussed ways of enhancing bilateral relations and promoting cooperation between the OIC and Gabon. The Secretary General informed the Prime Minister of the efforts made by the OIC in international fora to defend the rights of Palestinians and to counter the phenomenon of Islamophobia and of the humanitarian program being implemented by the OIC in the Member States, referring to the economic and developmental programs carried out in the Member States under the responsibility of the OIC. For his part, the Prime Minister commended the role played by the OIC on the international scene and praised the historical visit of the Secretary General to Gabon, the first ever by an OIC Secretary General since the creation of the Organization. The Secretary General also met with the Gabonese Minister of Foreign Affairs Emmanuel Issozi Ngondet; and they discussed ways of enhancing cooperation and bilateral relations between the OIC and Gabon. The Foreign Minister stressed his country’s commitment to implement the resolutions adopted by the OIC and to sign all related protocols and agreements.

President of Gabon discusses media, economic issues with OIC Secretary General

The President of Gabon H.E. Haj Ali Bongo Odimba received at the Presidential Palace in Libreville, the Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu on 20 April 2012. The two sides exchanged views on the outcome of the 9th Session of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers. During their meeting, the President and Ihsanoglu focused on the issues of Islamophobia and terrorism, and finding ways for facing these two dangerous phenomena that harm Islam and Muslims. They also discussed the economic projects launched by the OIC, in particular, those in cotton production and the food industry. In this connection, the Foreign Minister of Gabon Emmanuel Issozi Ngondet signed the statute of the Standards and Metrology Institute for the Islamic President Odimba awarded Ihsanoglu Countries (SMIIC). the ‘Grand Commandeur’ medal of Gabon.

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CULTURE OIC Human Rights Commission finalizes its Rules of Procedure The Commission focuses on Human Rights in Palestine, Syria, Mali and of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

OIC Secretary General with Turkish Foreign Minister

Ankara, Turkey – The OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) finalized its rules of procedure, during its second session, in accordance with the timeline stipulated by the Statute and in time for onward transmission to OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) for endorsement. The Commission held its Second Session in Ankara on 27-31 August 2012. The 5-day Session was chaired by commission member Siti Ruhani Dzuhayatin from Indonesia. The inaugural Session was addressed by the Foreign Minister of Turkey,  Ahmet Davutoglu, and the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who, in their remarks, paid rich tribute to the Commission Members for their high degree of commitment, devotion and professionalism that has contributed to the  remarkable progress made in the work of Commission in a short time since establishment. They expressed the confidence that the Second Session in Ankara would contribute significantly towards institutionalizing IPHRC as an important pillar of restructuring and reform at the OIC. The OIC Secretary General underscored the importance of the IPHRC and stated that its establishment was a fulfillment of one of the major goals and objectives laid out in the OIC Ten-Year Program of Action. He said that the Commission would serve as a reference point in profiling the importance accorded to human rights in Islam at the global level. Ihsanoglu added that the Commission is a major focus of international attention contributing to the visibility and credibility of OIC as an Organization propelled by the vision of ‘moderation and modernization’. The Commission focused on the human rights aspects of situations in Palestine, Syria, Mali and that of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. The Commission strongly condemned the continuing human rights violations perpetrated by Israel, being the occupying power, in Palestine and other Arab territories, with particular reference to the policy of settlements in terms of its implications towards the whole range of human rights of the Palestinian people as well as international efforts 48

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towards durable peace in the Middle East. The Commission expressed serious and grave concern at the reported human rights violations committed by both sides in the ongoing crisis in Syria. The Commission emphasized the primarily responsibility of the state to maintain law and order and called for a humanitarian pause in the armed conflict with a view to making a needs assessment. The Commission expressed grave concern at the reported human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. It decided to send a fact-finding mission for an on ground assessment of the situation of Rohingya Muslims and requested the Chairperson to contact the Government of Myanmar to that end. The Commission expressed concern at human rights violations perpetrated by terrorist groups against unarmed civilians in Mali and the destruction of sites classified by UNESCO as world cultural heritage. The Commission emphasized the importance and need for concerted efforts by the international community towards finding political solutions to the situations in Syria, Mali and that of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar with particular reference to an early repatriation of refugees in the neighboring countries. In terms of the priorities identified at the First Session in Jakarta, the Commission focused on rights of Women and the Child as well as Right to Development (RtD) and set up a working group to come up with approaches towards addressing these rights with a view to providing advisory opinion for the benefit of the Member States. The Commission also set up a working group with a view to advising the Member States on ways and means to combat Islamophobia and incitement to hatred and violence on religious grounds, within the human rights framework. The Commission emphasized the importance of research and studies on themes of human rights significance with a view to furnishing informed advisory to Member States. The 18 member Commission constitutes the first body of independent experts in the four decade long history of OIC.


Amnesty report confirms OIC finding on rise in Islamophobia in Europe

The recent report by Amnesty prejudices against Islam. The International confirms what report was particularly critical the Organization of Islamic of countries that have brought in Cooperation (OIC) had revealed outright bans on face-covering about an increase in discrimination veils or on the wearing of against Muslims in several religious symbols in schools. European countries. “Rather than countering these Amnesty International said prejudices, political parties and in a new report that Muslims in public officials are all too often several European countries face pandering to them in their quest discrimination in hiring and daily for votes,” said Marco Perolini, life because of rules targeting their Amnesty International’s expert customs. The report particularly on discrimination. notes the rise in political The report indicated movements that target Muslims or that rightist parties were Muslim practices. using Islamophobia to “Islamophobia is on the rise. In grab political power. fact, it has entered the third phase,” “Muslim women are being denied said Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. jobs and girls prevented from The OIC chief also blamed Muslim attending regular classes just extremists for the growing hatred because they wear traditional against Islam and Muslims. “These forms of dress, such as the head extremists present a wrong picture scarf. Men can be dismissed for of Islam through their negative having beards,” said Perolini. practices that have nothing to do European Union legislation with noble Islamic values and “prohibiting discrimination on teachings,” he said. the ground of religion or belief Speaking about the various in the area of employment seems phases of Islamophobia, to be toothless across Europe, Ihsanoglu said in the first phase, as we observe a higher rate of French Muslims hold a banner reading 'do not anti-Muslims used freedom unemployment among Muslims, touch my Islam' during a demonstration in Paris, of expression as a pretext to and especially Muslim women France against Islamophobia (epa) attack Islam and Muslims; and it of foreign origin,” Perolini said. appeared in the form of cartoons The right to establish denigrating the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). places of worship “is being restricted in some “During the second phase, there were attempts to institutionalize European countries, despite state obligations to hatred against Islam and Muslims. In Switzerland, for example, protect, respect and fulfill this right,” Amnesty said. the government conducted a referendum on constructing Muslims in the Catalonian region of Spain must pray outdoors minarets on mosques, which resulted in banning minarets.” “because existing prayer rooms are too small to accommodate As early as January of this year, the Secretary General had all the worshippers and requests to build mosques are being warned of the rising trend of Islamophobia in European politics, disputed as incompatible with respecting Catalan traditions where “radical right-wing” parties with a clear anti-Islam and culture.” agenda have won significant political weight in the parliaments The Fourth Annual report of the OIC Islamophobia in Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Observatory issued last year noted an upsurge in Islamophobia Sweden as well as the European Parliament. “It is a concern in Europe, whether emanating from the social sphere or stoked for us when Islamophobia is used as an instrument in electoral by public figures and institutionalized policies. The trend politics, especially as a way in competing to gain voters’ manifested itself in various forms, including direct attacks support,” he said. and desecration of Muslim places of worship, cemeteries The Amnesty International report comes after far right and other Islamic centers; a growing public perception leader Marine Le Pen scored a strong third-place showing in that Muslims constituted a threat both to the culture and France’s presidential elections. Her anti-immigrant platform well being of “Western society”, and that Islamic religious singled out Muslim practices for criticism. symbols, particularly the headscarf, should be strictly limited, In the report, titled “Choices and prejudice: discrimination or even completely banned. The report also pointed to the against Muslims in Europe,” focusing on Belgium, France, the serious prejudice commonly suffered by Muslims, statistically Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland, Amnesty urged European speaking, in terms of equal access to job opportunity and ill governments to do more to challenge negative stereotypes and treatment within their work environment. 49


CULTURE

Cross-pollination distinguishes great Islamic art by Naazish YarKhan

When exploring ways to bring people closer, the arts are an oft-neglected tool. With their beauty and potential to elicit emotions, they have the potential to bridge cultural divisions. When the art in question is itself the culmination of intercultural exchanges and influences, it has even more potential to fulfill this purpose. Recognizing and appreciating how much the West and Islam have held in common historically is what makes the documentary ‘Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World’, a must see for audiences around the world. In fact, a cross-pollination of ideas is “what distinguishes most of the great masterworks of Islamic art. The traditional lands of the Islamic world have always been at a crossroads of trade and migrations of different kinds. The interaction with other people, and with other religions, has always been rich and that shows in the history of Islamic art”, says Alex Kronemer, who along with Michael Wolfe, is co-Executive Producer of this most recent documentary from Unity Productions Foundation (UPF). Produced and directed by Rob Gardner, the documentary takes viewers to nine countries and across 14 centuries on visits to some of the most beautiful buildings in the world. It also showcases ivory and marble carvings, coins, jewellery, swords, ceramics, calligraphy, bronze lamps and miniature paintings reflective of a wide range of Islamic cultures. Accepted into the PBS Summer Arts Festival, which began on 29 June 2012, some of the art showcased in this documentary has never been included in a film or major exhibit before. Making epic documentaries is nothing new for UPF, a mission-driven organization working for peace and understanding through the media, and neither is their choice to explore how much humanity has in common. “Living at this time when there is so much misunderstanding, it is very compelling to have a calling that contributes some light to the world”, says Kronemer. The art and architecture in this documentary speak to the immense possibilities of collaboration. Islamic art was influenced by other cultures and traditions, and the film showcases the beauty that can come from a meeting of diverse artistic sensibilities. Viewers can see the overlap between Chinese and Persian pottery, for instance, and the

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way that Greco-Roman geometric patterns were absorbed into Islamic art. The film also shows Islamic art’s influence on the West. Many English speakers might be surprised to learn that the words blouse, chiffon, cotton, damask and satin are all derived from Arabic. During the Renaissance, with trade between Islamic empires and Europe, textiles and carpets from modernday Turkey and Iran became prized possessions in Europe. The documentary also depicts how different an African mosque could be from a Turkish one, demonstrating the ways that art and architecture could differ between Muslim majority nations. “Diversity is the great hallmark of Islamic art, as one would naturally expect from a global religion”, says Kronemer. The film is organized around five themes to show common ideas in Islamic art: Word, focusing on calligraphy and Qur’anic manuscripts; Space, which looks at how architecture is used; Ornamentation, or decorative arts; Color, which looks at geometric and floral patterns; and Water, which highlights gardens. The documentary successfully showcases the creativity, artistry and intelligence of Muslims reflecting an image that stands in sharp contrast to the current stereotypes that link Muslims with violence. At a time when movies and television are the dominant art forms and Hollywood reigns supreme internationally, filmmakers in Muslim-majority countries and independent filmmakers alike have an uphill battle when it comes to successfully conveying a unique vision. Still, UPF’s first screening of Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World, before a large audience at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, sold out. Looking at shared artistic heritage was a reminder that Muslims and the rest of the world do have a common history that needs to be acknowledged and celebrated. This documentary brings masterpieces of Islamic civilizations up close. Few documentaries parallel Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World as a means to gain insight into Muslims and their heritage. As I watched the film, I felt that on a deeper, more spiritual level, it beautifully reflected God’s handiwork: people. We are comprised of diverse faiths and races; perhaps we were made differently so that together we could be a mosaic whose beauty surpasses that of any one race or people alone. ....................................................................................... * Naazish YarKhan is a Communications Strategist in Chicago, Illinois. Her writing has been published in over 50 traditional and digital media outlets around the world. This article was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews). Source: Common Ground News Service (CGNews), www.commongroundnews.org Copyright permission is granted for publication.


Niamey: the 2012 Capital of Islamic Culture for the African region Niamey is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Niger. It is a major economic, cultural and administrative center.

Location:

Niamey lies on the Niger River, in the southwestern part of the country. The Republic of Niger is divided into 8 regions: Agadez, Diffa, Dosso, Maradi, Tahoua, Tillabéri, Zinder and Niamey which is the main centre for trade and export of agricultural products. Most of the political, industrial, commercial and cultural activities are concentrated in the capital.

History:

Niamey was founded in the 18th century. The French developed a colonial post in this region in the 1890’s. It rapidly grew into an important economic center. In 1926, Niamey became the capital of Niger. Currently, the population of Niamey is estimated at over 1.5 million. This growth is mainly due to migration during droughts.

Main attractions of Niamey:

Niamey boasts many attractions such as the Niger National Museum, the zoo, the museum of vernacular architecture and the craft centre. The city has also a small international airport. Yantala is another attraction of the city which is distinguished by its fascinating scenery. The city has also manufacturing industries producing bricks, ceramic goods, cement and weaving and small food commodities. Niamey hosts buildings of government offices. Most of the population lives in crowded areas alongside the Niger River.

Launch of celebrations:

The Government organized an official inauguration ceremony of the festivities celebrating Niamey as the African region’s Capital of Islamic Culture for 2012. It was presided over by the Nigerien President

Issoufou Mahamadou, and attended by the Prime Minister, the Parliament Speaker, cabinet ministers, along with members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Niamey, and eminent personalities from the realms of education, science, culture and arts. In his address on the occasion, the Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri said that ISESCO, in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture in Niger, will implement an integrated year-long program. The program provides for the implementation of several activities designed to celebrate prominent figures of Islamic thought in Niger, promote heritage as an agent of sustainable development, along with handicrafts and cultural diversity and reward creative students, scientists, artists and craftsmen. The aim is to promote cultural action in its general sense in Niamey, which today typically showcases Islamic civilization in Africa. The Director General said: “the Program of Islamic Culture Capitals, which is sponsored and implemented by ISESCO and was adopted by the 4th Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers, is part of an approach aimed at promoting Islamic culture, modernizing its components and mission and celebrating the glorious past of the Islamic civilization and culture in several culture capitals selected according to very strict criteria.” The program also aims to pay tribute to the important contribution of these capitals to culture, arts, literature and science. He added: “The program aims also to ensure a renewal of the Islamic civilization and promote the true humanist image of the Islamic civilization. This is possible particularly through the highlighting of cultural and human values ​​of that civilization with its different components.” In addition, the Director General said: “By achieving these objectives, we will have contributed significantly to promoting dialogue between cultures and the alliance of civilizations and spreading the values ​​of coexistence and understanding among peoples.”

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Tunisia (dpa) - In distinctive 'Tunisian hue'. the midst of a stifling unemployment The strategy for the development of crisis, postrevolution Tunisia aspires to develop traditional industries sector depends on State e a s y the sector of traditional industries which can, according to micro-loans provided to those wishing to implement projects experts, accommodate large labor, help population settle in the sector along with reduction of taxes and customs on the in their respective regions, and reduce the migration of the imported equipment and raw materials used by the artisans of unemployed towards the cities in search of work. Tunisia, traditional industries. in which unemployment rate rose to 19 percent in 2011 Years ago, the State started the construction of 'craft (compared to 14 percent in 2010), aims to raise the number of villages' that gather artisans to produce and promote their workers in traditional industries sector to 412 thousand by the wares. The sector of traditional crafts and industries has been end of 2016 compared to the current number of 350 thousand, for years now attracting an increasing number of the graduates representing 11 percent of the total Tunisian workforce. of high schools of crafts and arts who currently represent 5 National Bureau for Traditional Industries, a governmental percent of the total Tunisian university students and 5 percent body, announced that traditional industries in 2011 provided of the annual number of graduates. The number of students of new job opportunities for about 7000 Tunisians, representing arts and crafts school increased more than eight times in ten 10 percent of the total annual new jobs in the country. The years from 1,926 in 1998 to 16,892 in 2008 and this led the Bureau also indicated that the exports of this sector in 2011 government to build more than 20 such high schools during provided revenues of 385 million Dinars (about 192 million same period. Euros), representing 2.2 percent of the total value of Tunisian In Tunisia, there are three authorities that cater to the exports. It is to be noted that traditional industries contribute 4 sector of traditional industries and crafts, notably National percent to the GDP and the value of the sale of their products Bureau for Traditional Industries (governmental) currently in the domestic market is 1.5 billion Dinars (750 million under the supervision of the Ministry of Trade. It cooperates Euros) a year. with two non-governmental professional bodies: the National Since 2002, the State began implementing a development Federation of Traditional Industries and the Boards of Crafts. strategy of traditional industries with a view to raising its The National Bureau for Traditional Industries classifies share of exports to 9 per cent of the total exports by 2016. “all craft activities that create culture-specific products and The strategy also aims to raise the sector's contribution to the based mainly on manual skills in all phases of production” GDP to 8 percent, the value of the sale of its products in local within the list of traditional industries, which excludes all other market to 5 billion and 200 million Dinars (2.6 billion Euros, crafts (minor crafts) that do not have a “heritage character”. and tourists’ purchases to 120 Dinars (60 Euros) per tourist The government controls this list pursuant to laws published in 2016. in the Official Gazette. About 7 million tourists visit Tunisia per annum and This list is flexible so that it can be updated and expanded contribute to the reinvigoration of trade in traditional to include new crafts after consultation with the “Technical industries products. In this regard, the State encourages the National Committee” that meets for this purpose and endorsees establishment of partnership projects between traditional the list of the new crafts. Currently, this list includes 75 crafts industries and tourism and urge the use of these products in distributed mainly in 9 major sectors: textiles (weaving construction, furnishing and decoration in public departments carpets, rugs, and woolen blankets); clothes (traditional and authorities within and outside the country (such as Tunisian costumes); leather and footwear; wood; plant fibers; embassies). Tunisian hotels and lodges depend on the products ornaments and jewelry; metals (beaten copper pots); glass; of traditional industries in furnishings and decor to obtain the and clay and stone (mosaics, ceramics and pottery).

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OIC to cooperate with King Abdullah Center for Dialogue of Civilization Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu received, at his office in Jeddah on 8 April 2012, Dr. Faisal Al-Moammar, the Secretary General of International King Abdullah Center for Dialogue of Civilization (IKACD), which is based in Vienna. Ihsanoglu welcomed establishment of IKACD and stressed the need for initiating joint cooperation in all areas, including about the implementation of the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 as a means to combat intolerance and Islamophobia in particular, as well as to contribute

to the peaceful coexistence among different religions and civilizations. On his part, Dr. Al-Moammar expressed IKACD’s interest in engaging with the OIC through increased interaction and consultations aiming at building inter-faith harmony and dialogue towards promoting tolerance, reconciliation and understanding among peoples of different religious faiths and belief. He also invited the OIC Secretary General to the inauguration ceremony of IKACD to be held towards the end of 2012.

ISESCO celebrates its 30th Anniversary

Rabat, Morocco – The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) celebrated its 30th anniversary in a ceremony at its Headquarters in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco under the patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI. ISESCO embarked on its civilizational action, following its founding conference, which was held on 3 May 1982, in Fez, the academic capital of the Kingdom of Morocco, and during the closing session of which King Hassan II made an address that has served as a roadmap and a guide for the Organization. Today “we can say that ISESCO has reached a strong status, both in the Muslim world and beyond, firmly establishing itself as the cultural conscience of the Muslim Ummah,” said Dr. Abdelaziz Othman Altwaijri, Director General of ISESCO, at the ceremony.

The sum of ISESCO’s achievements is commemorated in a book published on this occasion. On this occasion, the Secretary General of the OIC Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu sent a message in which he extended his felicitations. “This is indeed an occasion for us to recall and commemorate important landmarks achieved by ISESCO, a specialized institution of the OIC, towards the primacy of the Islamic values of justice, human dignity and equality among all people,” said Prof. Ihsanoglu. “I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the importance of strengthening coordination and cooperation between the OIC General Secretariat and ISESCO with a view to creating conditions conducive to unity, prosperity and development of the Ummah,” he said.

Ihsanoglu addresses UN AoC Istanbul Partners Forum

Istanbul, Turkey – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, in his statement at the opening session of the Istanbul Partners Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilization, held in Istanbul, Turkey, on 31 May 2012, said that the UN Alliance of Civilizations (AoC) has earned credibility as evident from its ever growing number of its Group of Friends. However, he noted that there are challenges posed by the protagonists of intolerance and hatred, and recent incidents such as the Norway massacre and the burning of copies of the Holy Qur’an, bear testimony to this hard fact. Ihsanoglu stated that issues of religious and cultural identity have entered the realm of high politics and that societies face the challenge of good governance of cultural diversity as we are permanently confronted with identity dilemmas and diversity issues. “Globalization compels us to live together and interfaith harmony, which is rooted in multicultural solutions, would underwrite peace, security and stability”, he added. In this connection, he noted that the OIC is devoted to development of a culture of tolerance and peaceful cohabitation among diverse civilizations and cultures, and stressed the need to counter stereotypes and misconceptions,

which deepen patterns of hostility and mistrust within and among societies. The Secretary General underlined that the adoption of resolution 16/18 on “combating intolerance, incitement to violence and violence based on religion or belief”, at the 16th Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva as well as at the 66th UN General Assembly and by the 19th HRC held last March, provides a good basis for a concerted action by states, at both the national and international levels. He also elaborated on the scope and principles of the OIC on the AoC strategy; the objectives and priorities; and the way forward. In this connection, he stressed on implementation of the High Level Report on the AoC, which aims to build bridges between societies, promote dialogue and understanding and forge the collective political will to address the world’s imbalances. On the framework for action, he raised the need to focus on a positive approach stressing concrete action aimed at overcoming current shortcomings. The Secretary General noted that the OIC is encouraging its Member Countries to prepare and implement national plans on the issue of Alliance of Civilization and announced that 33 OIC Member States are now part of the Alliance of Civilizations’ Group of Friends. 53


EDUCATION

Qatar University students debate topical issues at Model OIC conference Doha, Qatar – The Model Organization of Islamic Cooperation Conference (MOICC) organized by Qatar University's (QU) College of Sharia and Islamic Studies (CSIS) and the Diplomatic Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was held on April 27-28, 2012 at Doha Sheraton Hotel in the presence of HH Sheikha Hind Bint Hamad Al Thani, QU President Prof. Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misnad, CSIS Dean Dr. Aisha Al-Mannai, Diplomatic Institute Director Ambassador Hassan Al-Mohannadi, QU faculty, students and guests. Some 500 students, 460 of whom were women, represented 28 countries throughout the Islamic world debated two primary issues – food security and the environmental crisis, and political changes in the Muslim world. The conference provided a platform for the students to debate key political issues facing countries in the Arab and Muslim world and to discuss major challenges for the wider Middle East and North African region. Its objective was to strengthen the dialogue on Islamic unity and mutual

understanding, promote the spirit of leadership, and give students the opportunity to enhance their presentation, communication and debating skills. Most importantly, the conference aimed to widen students' knowledge of broader issues on religion, culture, and nationhood. In her opening remarks, Dr. Al-Mannai stated that the conference was being held to connect students to the recent issues that affected the Arab and Islamic countries at an economic social and political level, especially in light of the Arab Spring. Ambassador Al-Mohannadi noted that the OIC had tried during the past four years to activate its role in supporting the efforts of the international society in maintaining stability in the region, and in trying to reduce the side effects of natural disasters, armed conflict and poverty. “It is our responsibility to broaden students' awareness of such issues, especially on food security and changing politics that are particularly relevant today,” he said.

Establishment of Pan-Islamic Research and Education Network Rabat, Morocco – The First Meeting of Country Coordinators for the Establishment of the Pan-Islamic Research and Education Network (PIREN) was held in April at the Headquarters of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO). The Director General of ISESCO Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri presided over the opening. In his address on that occasion, the Director General said, “Recent years saw the emergence of a new paradigm for internet-based linkage of academic and research circles through research and education networks. Having widely spread across the world, this networking is linking small groups in a manner similar to the concept of "public use internet", but with a fundamental difference: these groups exchange data concerned with research and education. These networks seek to facilitate communication between experts from different educational horizons in such a way as to improve understanding of research and education outputs and integrate them into increasingly pluralistic societies. Networks specialized in providing advanced services to researchers prove useful for students, teachers and other social categories.” Dr. Altwaijri pointed out that in a context of globalization, international cooperation has taken on additional dimensions, stretching beyond the conventional concept of inter-state cooperation to adopt a practical concept translated into international relations favoring peace and ensuring mutual interests of all countries.

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The purpose of the project is to build effective, sustainable linkages among Islamic countries, in such a way as to promote research and education in the Member States, enhance communication between scientists, and researchers, boost their capacities, and help them achieve their goals. ISESCO Director General expressed his hope that PIREN would contribute to strengthening cooperation and interaction between member states in research and education; enhance access to information on education, learning, research and management; help provide cost-effective means to meet educational needs in terms of data transfer and communication between specialists; and broaden the scope of networking between academic institutions in the Islamic world countries. An agreement was signed during the ‘Connect Arab Summit’ in Qatar to establish a pan-Islamic research and education network spanning the 57 countries of the OIC. The network was first proposed to link research and education networks in Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sudan and Turkey. It aims to overcome shortage in research and education networks in various Islamic countries. Along the research networks, a wide range of ambitious information and communication technology (ICT) projects to enhance e-education access and stimulate innovation by 2015 was also endorsed. These projects include technological networks, educational centers, an online university and a virtual academy.


HEALTH World Health Day: Good Health Adds Life to Years

OIC preparing a Strategic Health Program of Action Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The OIC Strategic Health Program of Action (2012-2020), which is currently under preparation, is expected to provide a well-defined common health vision with concrete objectives, modalities and timelines. On the occasion of the World Health Day, the OIC reiterated its resolve to working with the international community in forging meaningful partnerships for ensuring healthy environment for the well-being of future generations. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) joined the international community in observing April 7 as the World

Health Day. ‘Good Health Adds Life to Years’, this year’s theme, highlights the importance of a healthy lifestyle, better health care systems, prevention and control of pandemics, communicable and non-communicable diseases. Recognizing the centrality of health to overall socioeconomic and human development, the OIC is pursuing diverse activities and programs in the domain of health. The OIC General Secretariat and the relevant OIC Institutions have been closely coordinating with the relevant international organizations and the specialized UN health agencies.

UNICEF targets deadly diarrhea, pneumonia in poor kids

New York, USA – Concerted efforts to control diarrhea drinking water and basic sanitation are also deemed and pneumonia, the biggest killers of children under the age vital safeguards against pneumonia and diarrhea, of five, could save the lives of up to 2 million of the world’s but are largely absent in impoverished regions. poorest children each year, according to a new study from the “This report is a call to action” against the two childhood United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The lives saved scourges, UNICEF said, adding that a global action plan will would be largely in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. be released next year and set out a “clear and integrated vision” “Scaling up simple interventions could overcome two of the of how to proceed. biggest obstacles to increasing child survival (and) help give every child a fair chance to grow and thrive,” said Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the Fund, known as UNICEF. The study called for coherent and reliable distribution plans for new vaccines against the major causes of pneumonia and diarrhea — including the influenza virus, rotavirus and pneumococcal bacteria. A child It noted that one of the simplest and most effective ways suffering to protect babies from disease is exclusive breastfeeding from during the first six months of life, although fewer diarrhea than 40 percent of infants receive such protection. in a “Infants not breastfed are 15 times more likely to die due to hospital in pneumonia than are exclusively breastfed children,” it noted. Jakarta, Pneumonia and diarrhea, which often occur simultaneously, Indonesia account for 29 percent of deaths among children under (epa) five worldwide - or more than 2 million a year. Nearly 90 percent of the children who die from the two diseases live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the report said. It noted that about half of those deaths occur in just five mostly poor and populous countries: India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and Ethiopia. Current care for children with pneumonia is haphazard in the 75 countries with the highest mortality rate, it added, with less than one-third of affected children receiving antibiotics. Likewise, the study said inexpensive but potentially lifesaving oral rehydration salts are used by only one third of the children with diarrhea in developing countries. “Child deaths due to pneumonia in these countries could fall 30 percent, and child deaths due to diarrhea could fall 60 percent,” the report said, if interventions among poor children were raised to the level seen in the richest 20 percent of households in the same countries. In that event, deaths of children from all causes could be reduced about 13 percent in those 75 countries by 2015, it said. Adequate nutrition, hand washing with soap, safe 55


ENVIRONMENT 5th Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers adopts the

Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development

Ministers adopted 'Strategy for the Management of Water Resources' part of Sustainable Development

Astana, Kazakhstan – The Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers (ICEM) adopted the ‘Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development’ in their fifth session held in Astana on 17- 18 May 2012. The Conference was held under the patronage of Karim Massimov, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan. It was chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Turki bin Nasser bin Abdul Aziz, President of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment of Saudi Arabia, and attended by Ministers of Environment of the OIC Member States, high-level officials, representatives of relevant OIC institutions and international agencies and organizations. The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) organized the Conference. Ambassador Abdul Moiz Bokhari, Assistant Secretary General, represented the OIC Secretary General at the Conference. Delivering the Secretary General’s message to the Environment Ministers Conference, Ambassador Bokhari underscored the centrality of sustainable development to the overall agenda of the OIC, which encompass, inter alia, economic development, poverty alleviation, trade enhancement, environmental protection and health. “The issue of sustainable development has assumed greater significance for the OIC Member States in view of the peculiar challenges our countries are facing due to population growth, depletion of resources, environmental degradation and climate change. While historically the share of the OIC countries in green house gas emissions and global warming has been negligible, these countries are unfortunately among the most vulnerable to the impacts of 56

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climate change. The situation calls for urgent and concerted action by the OIC countries in collaboration with relevant international partners,” stressed the Secretary General in his message. He drew the attention of the participants to the efforts of the OIC, including the adoption of the OIC Water Vision 2025, preparation of the OIC Green Technology Blue Print and the establishment of a mechanism for regular consultations among OIC Member States on environment and climate change related issues. Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, Director General of the ISESCO, said that pan-Islamic cooperation in environment protection has taken its course, which was planned in a clear scientific method, based on a future-anticipating vision and a strong inclusive partnership with realistic predefined objectives. In his address, the Director General said that the ‘Strategy for the Management of Water Resources in the Islamic World’, the ‘Strategy for the Promotion of Renewable Energy in the Islamic Countries’, and the ‘Islamic Strategy for Promoting Energy Efficiency and Clean and Renewable Energy Sources Use in the Islamic World’ constitute together the major reference documents of action after the lapse of a decade since the First Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers. The ‘Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development’ adopted by the 5th ICEM reaffirms the commitment of the OIC Member States to the principles and objectives adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment


and Development (UNCED) in 1992. It calls upon the international community to renew its efforts to meet the goals defined by the UNCED through strengthened international cooperation, more robust and effective institutional framework for sustainable development backed by the necessary financial and technical resources. It further calls upon the developed countries to honor their financial commitments for sustainable development and take concrete steps towards debt cancellation, easy access to markets, technology transfer and capacity-building assistance. The Declaration cautions against narrow focus on specific technologies or prescriptions, which could lead to the creation of new technology dependence, erection of trade barriers or conditionalities on development finance. It emphasizes the necessity for the developed countries to assume their responsibilities in terms of reduction of emissions in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. More specifically, on Green Economy, the Declaration states: • Encourage OIC Member States to consider developing strategies for enhancing the understanding of and capacities related to the concept of green economy, not as an alternative, but as a mechanism, for sustainable development. • Take into account the impact of the global economic crisis on the developing countries, and underscore the need to adopt more productive and sustainable patterns of development through the rational use of natural resources with focus on placing ecosystem balance at the core of economic development. Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development: • Call for developing this institutional framework, in line with a consensual approach among OIC Member States. • Urge the OIC Member States to set up the national councils for sustainable development or promote similar existing national councils and structures, and strengthen their capacities to conduct the necessary studies and research with a view to developing green technology and adapting it to Member States’ economic, social and environmental specificities, and devise, implement and assess national strategies and policies for sustainable development; and call for enhancing coordination among these councils and with relevant UN organs and international institutions. Poverty Eradication: • The transfer of appropriate advanced technology and development of policies are needed to support small and medium enterprises - considered as a main source of employment opportunities - to help them adapt to green economy requirements. • Recommend effective measures to alleviate the sufferings of the population in poor and neglected localities, particularly for the benefit of people with low-income in

rural areas, and suggest introducing measures for raising awareness of the problems caused by population growth and environmental degradation and its implications for millions of people. Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture: • Underscore that the food and agriculture sector offers key solutions for development, and is central for hunger and poverty eradication, through localization of scientific research outputs and transfer of appropriate technology, and recommend added attention to ensure a rational and safe use of chemicals and insecticides in order to secure access for local communities to affordably priced GMO-free and safe food containing the fibers necessary for an active and healthy life. Disaster Risk Reduction and Management: • Express support for measures to reduce the risks resulting from anthropogenic activities and natural disaster (earthquakes, floods, storms..), by promoting a culture of preparedness and early warning, incorporating disaster reduction strategies into international and national sustainable development policies, encouraging technological innovation, increasing the investments allocated to disaster risk reduction and reaching an international binding agreement to reduce and address climate change effects. Water Challenges and Sanitation: • Stress the need for international support for facilitating the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa and Sub-Saharan countries, and for curbing fertile land degradation rates. Improving Energy Efficiency and Energy Rationalization: • Call for promoting research on energy efficiency and energy rationalization, together with renewable energy technology, transfer of technology and industrial knowhow, scientific research and technological enhancement of energy operating systems, and also call for the transfer of appropriate technology from the developed countries to the developing ones to meet their needs in terms of energy. • Recommend encouraging communication and interaction between the experts of the Islamic world, their international counterparts, industrialists, business people, technology developers and users, policy makers, education and training specialists, and professionals specializing in the environment and climate change to promote, popularize and enhance understanding of sustainable development in the context of the Islamic world and assess the best possibilities to fulfill international commitments. • Advise promoting appropriate energy technology localization in the OIC Member States as an agent of economic and human development.

Opening Session of Environment Ministers Conference

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ECONOMY IDB approves equity participation in IRADA and Al-Ebda’a microfinance institutions of Sudan

Khartoum, Sudan – The Islamic Development Bank implementation of Central Bank of Sudan’s policy directive, (IDB) approved US$ 10 million participation in the equity which states that all commercial banks in the country must capital of IRADA Microfinance Institution Project, Sudan. allocate at least 12 percent of their credit portfolio for The Project is promoted by Bank Al Khartoum (BOK), the funding Islamic microfinance. largest bank in Sudan, which will subscribe to 70% of the The project is also in-line with IDB’s vision and mission shares in IRADA. of ‘comprehensive human development’ and strategic thrusts IRADA is proposed to be a full-fledged Islamic relating to ‘Alleviate poverty’ and ‘Prosper the people’. The microfinance institution having a paid-up capital of SDG Project will be a milestone achievement under the IDB 140 million (US$ 50 million) and will provide competitively Microfinance Development Program (IDB-MDP). The Central Bank of Sudan has already issued a license priced Islamic microfinance products to individuals, families, social groups and other microfinance agencies in Sudan. It is for the institution and currently IDB and BOK are engaged expected that the IRADA will benefit 325,000 clients in the in drafting the shareholder’s agreement. IDB has also approved its participation in the equity first five years of its operation. Market study for Islamic microfinance in Sudan has capital of Al-Ebda’a Microfinance Institution, Sudan, revealed that there is huge demand for Islamic microfinance promoted by AGFUND, which was established in 1980 by products in the country; and current market players, majority HRH Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. A Memorandum of which are NGOs, are barely catering to the need of 12- of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between IDB percent of the potential market, which remains largely and AGFUND, which lays down the foundation for the relationship between the two institutions. Al-Ebda’a has a undeveloped. Given the strong demand for microfinance, Bank Al paid-up capital of US$ 5 million with 40% being taken by Khartoum has already launched its microfinance operations AGFUND, 20% by the Sudan Government’s Microfinance under which it has provided over US$ 42 million in Corporation, and 25% amounting to SDG equivalent of microfinance to more than 90,000 beneficiaries under the US$ 1.25 million (Approx. SDG 3.27 million) by IDB. The ‘Al-aman’ microfinance fund - SDG 200 million microfinance balance will be from the private sector. Capacity-building fund subscribed by 32 local banking institutions and Sudan’s support for the management and staff of Al-Ebda’a would be ensured by AGFUND to allow the institution to get a Diwan-az-Zakat. The Project is in-line with the Government of Sudan’s head start from the beginning. ‘National Vision for Microfinance’ and will also facilitate

IDB hosts International Conference on Islamic Microfinance

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Islamic Development Bank training and capacity building and facilitating the ways for (IDB) Group on 30 April hosted an international conference legal, regulatory and supervisory issues. The conference on Islamic Microfinance aimed at promoting financial revealed that in the wake of an increasing demand for Shariah-compliant financial products, Islamic microfinance inclusion and creating business opportunities. Chairing the conference, IDB Vice-President (Operations) provides tremendous opportunity to tap its potential Boubacar Sidibe stated that IDB will actively follow up the through partnering and risk-sharing as an alternative means mandate to expand the Islamic microfinance industry and to the current method of only lending money. It underscored offered to support innovation and research in the field as the significance of access to finance for poor households in a means to fighting poverty in IDB member countries. the informal economy in order to improve welfare to the He touched upon cooperation for capacity building as a household level in terms of providing basic services such as must amongst financiers, microfinance institutions and water, sanitation and health care, etc., in addition to financial professionals urging them to create a knowledge platform services. The participants agreed to work in unison to better accessible to everyone. “We shall attempt to achieve the two goals of financial inclusiveness and capacity building so that understand the needs in the light of the Shari’ah-compliant users could benefit from the job market and thus be part of services and engage in networking and extensive cooperation to remove impediments to the progress of the economic mainstream”, he added. Sudan’s State Minister for Human Resource Development Islamic microfinance. The conference was attended by senior Mrs. Hiba Mahmoud Sadig Farid was among the panelists officials from IDB Group entities, Islamic microfinance who expressed her country’s readiness to share its practical practitioners and experts from IDB member countries, including Sudan, Jordan, Morocco, Bangladesh, Pakistan, experience in the field as a successful model. The one-day event mainly focused on the challenges Yemen, Palestine and Guinea, as well as representatives ahead of Islamic microfinance namely; standardization, from different development finance institutions and donor lowering the costs, documenting best practices, better entities such as Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) use of technology, as well as trust worthiness scoring, and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP). 58

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OIC and D8 Organization for Economic Cooperation to collaborate Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – In line with the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the OIC General Secretariat and the General Secretariat of D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation on 7 October 2010, Dr. Widi A. Pratikto, Secretary General of D8, paid an official visit to the OIC Headquarters in Jeddah on 22- 23 April 2012. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of OIC, received the Secretary General of D8 on 22 April 2012. The two sides exchanged views on the potential areas for collaboration, including coordination of their various activities in order to enhance synergy and effective implementation of their developmental programs. In

addition to on-going collaboration in the domain of trade promotion, agriculture and food security, as well as tourism development, the Secretary General of D8 welcomed the proposal for the sensitization of OIC Members States in D8 on the implementation of TPS-OIC and establishment of the relevant capacity building programs in the fisheries sector for Somalia. The Secretary General of OIC observed that cooperation between the two Organizations was very significant, considering the fact that all the D8 Member States are also members of the OIC, and they account for about 70% of the OIC population as well as its GDP.

IDB and Niger sign $20 million deal to support food security

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – H.E. Mahamadou Issoufou, (ITFC) envisages import of 30,000 tons of cereals including President of Niger received Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, rice and maize as well as building up of nearly 7000 tons President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, at of storable crops and food reserves as part of Niger’s the Conference Palace in Jeddah on 13 May 2012. During the national food-shortage prevention security program. meeting, the IDB Group signed a number of agreements with Under the second agreement, US$ 400 thousand will be the Government of Niger to support food security programs allocated to Niger in the framework of a recent US$ 2 million and other development measures. The financing agreements IDB program to support international efforts for prevention of a were signed respectively by the IDB Group President and by possible wave of famine in theAfrican Continent’s Sahel Region. Deputy CEO of ITFC Engr. Hani Sonbol and Niger Minister The IDB also signed another agreement with Niger for US$ of Planning, IDB Governor Dr. Amadou Boubacar Cisse. 100,000 to provide emergency food and medical supplies Of the three agreements, the US$ 20 million credit line to Mali refugees crossing the borders with the Republic of from the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation Niger.

IDB – ADB funding to promote wind energy farms in Pakistan Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – The Islamic Development sponsor the projects. Once complete, the projects shall Bank (IDB) in partnership with the Asian Development add generation capacity of 100MW to the national grid Bank (ADB) has signed a US$133 million agreement on under long term Energy Purchase Agreement with the May 19, 2012 for long-term lease finance (Ijara) facility National Transmission and Distribution Company (NTDC) for the development of two wind power projects in the of Pakistan and thereby make a significant contribution Sindh province of Pakistan. A consortium of local financial to improving the power supply situation in the country. institutions comprising National Bank of Pakistan, Faysal These projects are the first generation wind energy projects Bank, United Bank Limited, Allied Bank and Meezan that Pakistan has embarked on. “Pakistan has enormous Bank are also participating in the transaction. Under an potential to tap wind energy, and successful implementation innovative risk participation structure between IDB and of these projects is expected to bring in further investment ADB, the project companies were able to raise 100% in developing more wind projects in Pakistan,” said Walid Islamic financing for these important infrastructure projects. Abdelwahab, Director of the Infrastructure Department at The Fauji Foundation and Tapal Group in Pakistan IDB.

IDB signs agreement for more than US$ 12 million with Mali Bamako, Mali – Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, the President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group and Tiena Coulibaly, Mali’s Minister of Economy, Finance and Budget signed a US$ 12.4 million agreement on June 20, 2012 for a social housing project in the capital city of Bamako. According to the agreement, by 2014 the project is expected to provide suitable housing along with basic facilities such as water, electricity and sanitation services for around 1000 families with low and medium income

in Bamako. The project will also provide around 8600 job opportunities during the construction period. On the occasion of signing, Tiena Coulibaly presented the progress of IDB financed projects in Mali as well as future projects that are proposed to be financed by IDB Group, particularly those involving food security and electric power generation. The IDB Group President underlined the Bank’s willingness to provide its best support to such programs and projects. 59


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The Islamic Chamber of Commerce approves amended statute

ICCI board meeting in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey – The Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) concluded its 14th Board of Directors and 28th General Assembly meetings held in Turkey on April 12, 2012 at the invitation of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB). In its agenda, the ICCI approved the statute after receiving the proposed amendments, which would provide the Chamber the required flexibility for performing its role in enhancing cooperation, increasing trade and economic activities amongst the Islamic countries. The amendments would also allow the Chamber to develop new mechanisms to help create trade and investment opportunities among the Islamic countries. In addition to facilitating the implementation of the Chamber’s ten-year work plan presented by Sheikh Saleh Kamel, President of the Chamber, for the sake of promoting intra-OIC trade. OIC embarked on activities to mobilize investment in Member States affected by the Arab Spring The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has, at the intergovernmental level, embarked on series of activities to foster investment mobilization and employment generation among its Member States, particularly those affected by the ‘Arab Spring’. The OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu revealed this in his address at the opening ceremony of the 23rd Session of the General Assembly of the ICCI on April 11, 2012. The session was held under the patronage of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and with the attendance of the President of the Islamic Development Bank Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Ali and the President of Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchange Rifat Hisarciklioglu. In his speech, the Secretary General praised the President of ICCI Sheikh Saleh Kamel for his wisdom and leadership that brought unprecedented dynamism in ICCI activities since he took office in 2005. Ihsanoglu said that the meeting is taking place at the time when the entire world economy is still recovering from the triple financial, food and energy crises of the recent past and which greatly affected the economies of OIC Member States. This is particularly so with regard to the least developed countries (LDCs), which account for more than one third 60

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of the OIC membership. This unfavorable situation has brought about a steady decrease in the flow of investment to OIC countries, while at the same time raising the level of unemployment, especially among the youth, to an all-time high. The Secretary General said the spiraling unemployment, coupled with apparent economic recessions, has been considered as the root cause of the on-going socio-political turmoil in some of our Member States, which is popularly referred to as “the Arab Spring”. “In order to address this disturbing phenomenon, the OIC has, at the intergovernmental level, embarked on series of activities to foster investment mobilization and employment generation among its Member States,” said the Secretary General. This included the poverty alleviation strategies and capacity building activities, micro-finance, vocational training, food security and provision of social infrastructures. In addition to direct interventions in enhancing competitiveness and productivity of OIC economies, the activities of the various OIC institutions have focused on creating enabling environment to enhance the contribution of the Private Sector to sustainable economic growth and development in OIC countries. The three agreements under the OIC Trade Preferential System (TPS-OIC) have entered into force, with negotiations underway to define the appropriate tariff concessions, which will stimulate increased flow of goods and services within the OIC market, which is US$3.2 trillion strong. New ICCI membership and Halal certification: The membership of Brazil Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ghana Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Irish Islamic Chamber of Commerce were approved as observers. In addition, the ICCI’s Board of Directors discussed the issue of Halal certificate on products imported to the Islamic markets and the importance of ICCI’s support as it is the main representative of the private sector in the Member States of the OIC. The ICCI signed agreements for cooperation in the field of Halal Commerce and Industries with the following institutions: • Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania • Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and Pakistan Halal Products Development Board • Irish Islamic Chamber of Commerce • Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CSCCI) The cooperation agreement between the ICCI and CSCCI is aimed at supervising and regulating the issuance of Halal certificate and ratifying it, in addition to ensuring well implementation of Halal standards that were approved by the Islamic Chamber and based upon the standards developed by OIC’s group of experts. It is worthy mentioning that Halal international trade market reached about $ 640 billion in 2010.


Addressing Social Injustice is a Challenge in the Twenty-First Century Buenos Aires (dpa) - Argentine economic analyst Bernardo Klexberg, an expert in development policies, who worked as consultant at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization of the United Nations (UNESCO) and the Organization of American States, believes that overcoming the lack of social justice at the global level is the main challenge facing humanity in the twenty-first century. In an interview with German News Agency (dpa), Klexberg indicated that as the struggle of humanity in the nineteenth century was mainly against slavery and as human rights were the major issue in the twentieth century, the core issue in the twenty-first century is achieving social justice. Klexberg added that it is hard to believe that 43 per cent of global gross domestic product is possessed by only one percent of world population. The fact that the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen in such areas that witness a state of economic growth seemed to disturb him. Late last year the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued a report indicating that the gap between the rich and poor in the OECD Member States has widened and reached its apex during the past three decades. The report pointed out that the average income of the segment that includes the richest ten percent of the population of these countries is currently nine times more than the income of the segment that includes the ten percent of the poorest population. In Mexico the ratio is 25:1. Klexberg emphasized that the lack of social justice is detrimental to individuals’ quality of life referring, for example, to the 40% increase in suicide rates in Greece among professionals and small savers who lost the purchasing power of their money. He also indicated that the lack of social justice would prevent any country from accumulating national savings leading to the concentration of economic power as well as media ownership in the hands of few individuals. Klexberg is a pioneer in a movement called “Ethics of Development”. He confirmed that the citizens’ movements and actions will shape societies in the future and expressed his belief that the focus in the European crisis must be in another direction other than that being considered now. He indicated that regardless of the debt problem, the main real issue is the lack of justice and the thing that should be subject to analysis is whether the actions being promoted contribute to the occurrence of something, whether in favor or against such practices. Klexberg coauthored a book entitled “Citizens First” with the 1998 Nobel-laureate Indian economist Amartya Sen in which they recommend giving more importance to the stability achieved by some countries, such as Norway, through pursuing a policy of complete equality of rights among citizens. In line with other economists who won the Nobel Prize,

such as Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, Klexberg feels that austerity plans currently in place in Europe are an “economic suicide” as it would deepen the recession and lack of social justice in the short term. Klexberg wondered about the reason for such performance and indicated that this comes at the demand of the huge financial cartels that want their dues regardless of who may be exposed to harm. He indicated that such cartels showed their ability in the Wall Street in 2008 and 2009 as they caused the U.S. economy, the most powerful on earth, to sink resulting in pulling one million Americans into the abyss of poverty. Klexberg described “Occupy Wall Street” movement in the United States and the counterpart protests in Spain by the “angry” as “one of the most clear-cut events in modern history” because the protesters were not asking for jobs, but were calling upon policy-makers to adopt a moral approach in the economic field. He added that the slogan “We are the 99 percent” of “Occupy Wall Street” movement refers to the fact that only one percent of the U.S. population owns 40 percent of the nations’ wealth. Klexberg said that in order to reverse this situation, we must restore the ethical aspect in the economic sphere. He quoted the warning by the famous economist Adam Smith that markets can turn into “monsters”, and expressed his belief that the road towards change can be found in every society. He noted some encouraging initiatives that have been made, such as the new policies being pursued in South Africa and Brazil as to the implementation of anti-poverty programs that have succeeded in lifting 40 million citizens out of poverty into the middle class. He also referred to Argentina, which has implemented a similar program based on helping children, and “Plan Ceibal” in Uruguay, which helped school children enter the digital world through the distribution of laptops among primary school students at public schools. Klexberg stressed that progress in addressing the social ills in these countries proves that we “can overcome the lack of social justice” and this would change the entire situation. He has a firm belief in the power of citizens and their ability to choose their own leaders able to apply policies that ensure equal rights and abidance by them. He added that citizens are vigilant and alert to follow up on what the elected politicians do as to fulfilling their promises, and they shall not accept any backtracking. “Occupy Wall Street” movement (epa)

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Lahore economic forum urges OIC’s private sector to invest in Pakistan’s energy, agriculture, livestock and infrastructure

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Lahore, Pakistan – The participants in the OIC Ambassadors Conference organized by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on the theme of “Economic Cooperation among the private sector of the OIC Members States” recommended and called upon the Islamic Chamber of Commerce for exploring the investment opportunities in Pakistan’s Energy, Agriculture, Livestock, Infrastructure and other sectors of the economy. LCCI organized a one-day conference on April 14, 2012 in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Conference adopted the following recommendations: • It stressed the role of private sector in the economic and trade promotion plans and involving them in various endeavors made by the governments to promote trade and investment among the OIC Member States. • The Conference encouraged the OIC Member States to ratify and make operational the Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs), Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and to facilitate the intra-OIC trade to incrementally raise the level of cooperation leading to the establishment of OIC common market. • It urged the relevant Ministry of the Government to propose to COMCEC to jointly carry out the research project of the Lahore Chamber and also request to the Islamic Development Bank to support this activity. • The Conference also encouraged all the representative Chambers of OIC countries to create electronic data on the trade and investment policies, the tariff structure on their websites and to share it with Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Pakistan in electronic as well as printed form. • It further recommended to encourage the OIC Member Governments to consider facilitating travel within the OIC countries by introducing OIC multiple entry business visa for a period of five years on the recommendations of respective Chambers. • The Chambers conference requested to Ministry of Foreign Affairs to propose OIC business visa during the next OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting. • It also requested the OIC Missions in Islamabad to introduce a fast track visa issuance mechanism to facilitate travel of business community to their countries. • The Conference supported the promotion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the OIC Member States as an important segment of the economy for the

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development of trade. • It also recommended to encourage the Islamic Development Bank to support the private sector projects which could lead to value-added for export oriented production. • The conference also encouraged the Islamic Corporation for Development of the Private Sector (ICD), Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) for the simplification of their procedures for providing the lines of credit and finance to the domestic banks of the OIC member states for the private sector projects. • The conference further urged the Islamic Development Bank to initiate steps for the capacity building and economic empowerment of the women for encouraging their participation in establishing their own businesses. • It also called upon the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) to facilitate exchange of expertise in various sectors to serve the common interest and development of industry and trade among OIC Member States. • The conference also urged early ratification and bringing into operation the TPS-OIC (PRETAS) covering tariff and para-tariff preference for the OIC Member States. • It also recommended and called upon the ICCI for exploring the investment opportunities in Pakistan’s Energy, Agriculture, Livestock, Infrastructure and other sectors of the economy. The President of LCCI Irfan Qaiser Sheikh also said that an OIC Trade Coordination Centre will be established at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) to facilitate contacts between the chambers of the member countries. He said that the LCCI would be used as the Secretariat of this Coordination Centre while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would formally inform the OIC and ICCI headquarters and get it confirmed by the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM). Sheikh said OIC Ambassadors had also recommended an economic summit of the OIC countries involving the private sectors should also be arranged in three to four months time. He said the summit would consider setting up of single currency, a common bank and a trading bloc on the pattern of European Union that would be a great achievement by all means.


Malaysia-IDB Investment Forum explores business partnership opportunities

IDB-WIEF sign investment agreement

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Trade between Malaysia and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries is expected to grow in double digits this year, International Trade and Industry Minister of Malaysia Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said. In 2011, total trade between Malaysia and the rest of OIC members rose 26.1 per cent to US$47.6 billion from US$37.74 billion in 2010. Exports to OIC last year were valued at US$24.86 billion, up 20 per cent from US$20.72 billion in 2010. Total imports also registered an increase, jumping 33.7 per cent to US$22.75 billion from US$17.02 billion previously. “There is a great potential to increase trade and attract investment from Islamic countries, particularly from the Middle East to Malaysia,” Mustapa said at the Malaysia-IDB Group Investment Forum. “The main objective of this forum is to explore business partnership opportunities, engagement programs and institutional arrangements between Malaysia and the OIC economies, in close collaboration with IDB Group,” he told the press. Mustapa said Malaysia and IDB have agreed to set up a joint committee to monitor the progress of projects between the country and the IDB member nations. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak opened the investment forum in Kuala Lumpur, which was organized by Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group on May 9, 2012. The three-day forum is themed “Toward Strategic Business Partnership between Malaysia and IDB Member Countries.” Razak has welcomed investors from the OIC countries to consider projects under the Economic Transformation Program (ETP) as a safe home for their surplus cash. He said the program called for huge investments in a number of key sectors – advanced technologies, including green and renewable technology, healthcare, education and tourism and hospitality. Razak, who is also Finance Minister, said Malaysia was a better launch pad for oil producing countries to enter the Asian region. He said with the ASEAN Economic Community, which would take off in 2015, Malaysia would become the gateway

to a regional market of almost 600 million people with zero tariffs for 99.4 per cent of all tradable products. The Prime Minister said that ASEAN’s free trade agreements with all of the major economies of Asia meant this preferential marketing now reached 3.2 billion people, including the populations of India, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. IDB President Ahmed Muhammad Ali said convening of the forum demonstrates commitment of the IDB Group in helping Malaysia to realize its economic and social development. He said total funds approved by the IDB Group to Malaysia have reached $ 1.4 billion for 117 projects covering infrastructure, energy, education, agriculture, mining in addition to imports and exports. He touched upon the partnership program between the IDB Group and Malaysia, which is aimed at implementing strategic projects in Malaysia within the framework of IDB’s vision up to 2020. Delegates of 35 countries, including IDB member countries, China, South Korea, Russia, Islamic and Arab commerce chambers, Malaysian banks, and the diplomatic corps accredited to Kuala Lumpur, attended the forum.

IDB-WIEF inks major deal to spur trade and investment

The World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation (WIEF Foundation) has exchanged a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, with the objectives of fostering cooperation and socio-economic development within the Muslim world and a special emphasis on Muslim communities in non-OIC countries. The MOU also aims to promote economic growth through trade and investment of intra-OIC countries and with the rest of the world, and promote strategic alliances through exchange of ideas, information and knowledge. Tun Musa Hitam signed the MOU in his capacity as the chairman of the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation and Ahmad Muhammad Ali signed as the president of the Islamic Development Bank Group. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak witnessed the exchange of documents at the Malaysia-Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group Investment Forum. Among the areas of cooperation include discussion on development issues aimed at better understanding of global economic challenges and promotion of strategic alliances and partnerships; promotion of economic growth through increased trade and investment among the OIC countries and with the rest of the world; promotion of Islamic finance (in OIC member countries as well as the rest of the world); contribution to the poverty reduction efforts in the Muslim World; promotion of the development of the private sector; increasing opportunities for women and youth in the development process.

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OIC Chief urges private sector to invest in agro industries Sharjah, UAE – The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu urged the private sector in the OIC Member States to work towards agricultural development by establishing a linkage of agro industries. The linkage is expected to bring together leading players in both public and private sectors in order to reduce post-harvest destruction of agricultural products. This was contained in the speech delivered by the Secretary General at the Second Sharjah Business Forum held in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates on 25 April 2012. In the context of economic cooperation among OIC Member States, Ihsanoglu stated that the current Trade Preferential System (TPSOIC) entered into force following the completion of all procedures necessary for its take-off. He pointed out that the system aims to promote intra-OIC trade through the exchange of preferential benefits among states involved in the framework. The Secretary General explained that the system, among other things, reduces export and import tariffs, eliminates proportional restrictions and specifications on commercial goods. He stressed that the volume of intra-OIC trade has reached 17.71 % of the total trade exchanges for Member States, up from 14.50% recorded in 2004. Ihsanoglu emphasized that TPSOIC would give participants access to the OIC’s US$ 1.7 billion market with a real worth of US$3 billion.

In the same context, the Secretary General revealed the success recorded in the monetary standard, explaining that trade exchange among the OIC Member States increased from US$ 205 billion in 2004 to US$ 539 billion in 2011. The forum also tackled the challenges facing Gulf economies today and the pivotal role of the private sector. “The biggest challenges we face in achieving Gulf economic solidarity is not the differences between organizations but the system of implementing decisions,” said Abdul Rahim Hassan Al Naqi, Secretary General of the Federation of Chambers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Delays in applying decisions and strategy on the ground are because any decision by the GCC Council has to wait issuing sovereign approvals, he said. “Isn’t it time to give the private sector the role it deserves?” “Another challenge facing GCC investors is in terms of differing legal environments”, said Dr. Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. “One of the main challenges is that the countries we work in do not necessarily have clear laws or procedures. This is part of the issues we face,” he said. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working with the Economic and Finance Ministries to support the UAE investments abroad, he said.

OIC participates in Kazan Summit 2012 Kazan, Tatarstan – The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) participated in the 4th International Forum of Islamic Business and Finance “Kazan Summit” on Economic cooperation between Russia and the OIC countries, which was held on 17 and 18 May 2012 in Kazan, Tatarstan. The OIC delegation led by OIC Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs Ambassador Hameed A. Opeloyeru presented a report emphasizing on the increasing collaboration between the OIC and Russian Federation in light of the traditional historic links between the people of the Republic of Tatarstan and the peoples of the OIC Member States. The annual Kazan Summit has increased both socioeconomic and political dimensions of bilateral relations. The significance of consolidating these relations is inherent in the need to join efforts towards addressing the global economic challenges and its consequences on the welfare of the vulnerable segments of the OIC community. In this regard, the recent upswing in the various OIC socio-economic activities can support the excellent relations existing between the OIC and Russian Federation in numerous areas such as intra-OIC trade, which reached 17.71 % in 2011 and is projected to reach 20% in 2015. A number of instruments have been put in place to help the OIC reach this target. To name a few, such instruments include Trade Preferential System of OIC (TPSOIC), Trade Financing and Export Credit Insurance, as well as OIC Trade Fairs and Exhibitions. The OIC has embarked on undertaking diverse projects in the fields of agriculture, food security and rural development. 64

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Currently, the Organization is working on modalities for the establishment of OIC Food Security Reserves on regional basis. The main objectives of the proposed Food Security Reserve are to ensure food security of OIC Member States through coordination of national food stock policies and national food reserve; and to monitor food security situation of OIC Member States. In this context, the OIC Cotton Action Plan is aimed at rehabilitating the faltering cotton sector in cotton-producing OIC countries. Under this plan, twenty-seven projects with a total amount of US$373 million have been approved for funding. The OIC presentation also covered a range of other areas such as development of the private sector, cooperation on tourism sector, development of transport infrastructure and Islamic financial products. The presentation gave special emphasis on OIC – Russian economic cooperation given the fact that external trade of the Russian Federation with the OIC Member States has amounted to US$60 billion in 2010. Considering the trade potential of the OIC Member States amounting to US$3.2 trillion, the Organization is of the view that this figure can be further increased. Delegations from 30 OIC countries participated in the Kazan Summit. President of Tatarstan. H.E. Rustam Minnikhanov, who attended the opening ceremony, stated that this annual meeting in Kazan has become a good tradition for business community and has proved its efficiency not only for companies launching business in Russia but also for large firms investing on international capital markets.


Ihsanoglu honored at the "Africa Day” ceremony

Ihsanoglu receives honors at ‘Africa Day’ ceremony

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) indicated that the OIC was striving hard for the realization of a major project, a railway line that would link the Sudanese city of Port Sudan in East Africa to the Senegalese capital Dakar in the west of the continent. This megaproject, he said during 49th Africa Day celebration, will be one of the greatest development projects in Africa and will change the face of economic life in the entire African continent. “This is a project I hold dear and I dream of the happy day when I may see it a reality on the ground”, he said. “Enhancing and Upgrading the Intra-regional Trade among the Member Countries of Africa” was the theme of the 49th annual commemoration dedicated to the founding in 1963 of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), renamed African Union (AU) in 2002. The event was celebrated by the African Group of Consuls General accredited in Jeddah on May 23, 2012. Consul General of Algeria and Dean of the African group of Consuls General Salah Attia opened the celebrations in the presence of Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al-Tayyeb, Ambassador and Director General of Foreign Affairs of Makkah Region,

officials of international and regional institutions, businessmen and members of the diplomatic and African community in Jeddah. The Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu was the guest of honor in recognition of his devotion to reinforce relations between African countries and the OIC. The Secretary General pointed out in his speech that the African Group was one of the most active regional groups of the OIC, for which reason the General Secretariat wished to appreciate and commend the African role in the OIC in general, a role that has recently become even greater and wider. Ihsanoglu went on to say: “Since I came to office at the head of the OIC, I made a point of paying a visit to African Member States and attached special attention to African Islamic action aimed at achieving sustainable development and creating the necessary conditions for peace and harmony throughout the continent.” He further added: “As we meet today on this happy occasion, the chairmanship of the OIC is assumed by Senegal since March 2008. The meeting of the OIC Ministers of Information was held a few weeks ago in Libreville, Gabon, and in a few months, Djibouti is expected to play host for the coming Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM). In addition, another African country i.e. Guinea, will host the next CFM after Djibouti, all of which is indicative of Africa’s focal position in the OIC’s action.” The Secretary General also noted that by the end of 2011, the funding of OIC Africa Development Program had reached US$3.9 billion, mainly allocated to housing, health, food security, agriculture and education. As for the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) and the Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISF), their total funding had reached one billion US Dollars, which were allocated to poverty alleviation programs and to infrastructural development, particularly in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Private Sector in OIC countries invited to invest in TRNC Girne, TRNC – The Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu invited the private sector of the OIC Member States to take advantage of the favorable business climate created by the people of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Ihsanoglu said in his statement at the “Invest in North Cyprus Forum” in Girne, TRNC, on 12 April 2012 that Northern Cyprus has a very resilient economy, judging from the impressive per capita Gross Domestic Product of US $13,253 which is higher than the world average. The Secretary General noted that sense of cooperation, has recently characterized socio-economic and cultural relations between the people of Northern Cyprus and their brothers and sisters across the length and breath of the OIC Member States, in particular the impressive educational institutions in the TRNC that attracted thousands of nationals of OIC Member States to Northern Cyprus. The Secretary General confirmed that the peoples in the OIC Member States as well as those in relevant OIC institutions,

particularly the IDB Group, have always supported the resilience of the Northern Cypriots, who have demonstrated their determination to fast-track the socio-economic development of their country despite difficult economic conditions brought about by the existing global politics in the region. Ihsanoglu revealed that trade opportunities in the OIC Member States amount to US $3.2 trillion out of which about US $540 billion represents the aggregate of intra-OIC trade, adding that the possible Private Sector engagement between the OIC Member States and the TRNC is another factor that would enhance the success of OIC objective in the forum. He emphasized that the agro-food industry could offer an immense potential for foreign direct investment and would contribute to the long-term socio-economic development of the TRNC. Ihsanoglu underlined that in order to support the agro-food industry in the TRNC, a pipeline project that would carry fresh water from Turkey to the TRNC would immensely facilitate development of this industry. 65


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Islamic Finance: Is it really Shariahcompliant? Tariq H. Cheema*

As he delivered his welcome address to delegates at the Global Donors Forum in Kuala Lumpur recently, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak sought to make a few crucial points about the necessity, and viability, of Islamic finance and micro-finance in today’s world. The occasion was the 5th annual meeting of the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP), the organizing force behind the forum which was held in the Malaysian capital in late April. The audience before the Malaysian premier, therefore, was a veritable who’s who of people who matter at the global level. More importantly, it consisted of philanthropists from across the Muslim world, and beyond, who understood the deeper context of his words.  “Islamic microfinance is about financial inclusion, entrepreneurship and risk-sharing through partnership finance – an approach that conventional microfinance lacks,” the Prime Minister said. “And there can be no doubt that, going forward, it represents an opportunity for Islamic finance to develop ethical yet profitable products and services at the same time as supporting social entrepreneurial activities and invest long-term in social funds.”  All of these are valid points. Islamic finance is one of the fastest growing finance sectors in the world. Yet, as Shariah compliant products are being developed, wealth made and assets built across the Muslim world’s landscape, we would do well to ask ourselves if all this really does fall within the purview of the term “Islamic finance”?  The answer is simple – and in the negative. The reason, again, is simple: it is not enough for a financial institution to claim to be a Shariah-compliant enterprise merely because it is providing or selling Shariah compliant services or products to its clients or customers. Merely pronouncing a service or product as complying with well-defined Islamic principles might go down well with an unsuspecting target market, but it would eventually be a brazenly self-serving business ploy completely at variance with the very humane principles outlined in the purpose of Shariah.  It takes only a cursory glance at how these Islamic financial institutions function to be able to gauge that their primary purpose appears to be only to serve their own corporate objectives.  A company dealing in finance should realize that a corporate objective entails more than merely seeking to 66

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increase the value of its shares. In the case of an Islamic financial institution, this responsibility extends to ensuring that the demands of the Islamic concept of Shariah (Maqasade-Shariah) are met. Unfortunately, those who associate their businesses with Islam appear to tend to forget that they and their organizations carry a far greater responsibility to society than they exhibit. Islamic finance should focus on the dual purposes of Personal Social Responsibility and Corporate Social Responsibility, because both were clearly laid out according to Islamic Shariah more than 1400 years ago (although the terminology used here is obviously another by-product of the times we live in and not from an era long since past). For example, Shariah prohibits the use of certain economic goods and forbids any indulgence in particular economic activities, even though, in practice, they might yield great dividends. But they are banned in the Islamic context because, while they might benefit the business owner or the company, the detriment they would cause would create an ill-balanced society. Riba, or interest, has been deemed un-Islamic for that very reason.  Making a business ethical entails more than lofty pronouncements claiming to adhere to Islamic principles, which are sadly left by the wayside the moment the profitability angle makes its insidious presence felt.  A truly socially responsible enterprise would understand the importance of value creation for all stakeholders – shareholders, society, the environment – but, sadly, Islamic financial institutions lag far behind in the important field of giving as compared to their worldwide counterparts. This represents a significant under-utilization of their resources.  According to Islamic Shariah, an Islamic financial institution’s focus, as part of its social responsibility, should be to bank those who have no collateral (financial inclusion) and invest in Small Enterprises in the Islamic way by sharing their risks and developing their entrepreneurial skills.  A direct consequence of this would be genuine social change: an economically empowered populace, which, in turn, would lead to financial institutions being strengthened immeasurably and a society’s triple bottom-line, would improve.  Finally, if funds for social investment – such as providing capital to sustainable livelihood schemes – are established by Islamic financial institutions, much needed social change can be brought about; not just in our society, but others as well. All that would require would be a strict adherence to the rules outlined in Islamic Shariah.  The faith of marginalized millions will be met by proactive policies that are centered around action. And this shall be achieved through impact philanthropy and investing because these are designed to create and achieve true empowerment of the people which is a beautiful way to follow and live Shariah. ..................................................................................  *Dr. Tariq H. Cheema is the founder and CEO of the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP)


Standard and Poor's Indices launches Shariah index with the OIC London, UK – S&P Indices announced the launch of the S&P/OIC COMCEC 50 Shariah Index, which is designed to measure the performance of 50 leading Shariah-compliant companies from the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The Index has been designed in partnership with the OIC, according to a press release by S&P. Companies from all 19 countries whose exchanges are members of the OIC Exchanges and are covered by S&P Indices are eligible for the Index. These are: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The S&P/OIC COMCEC 50 Shariah Index consists of the largest 50 stocks from the eligible universe. Stocks are selected in accordance with Shariah compliance screenings as determined by the S&P Shariah Indices Methodology. In addition, stocks must have a minimum three-month average daily value traded (ADVT) of $1m at each rebalancing reference date. To enhance portfolio diversification, at least one stock but no more than eight, from each country or territory must be included in the Index. Alka Banerjee, Vice President of the Global Equity and Strategy Indices from S&P Indices commented: “We

are pleased to partner with the OIC to create this new benchmark for Islamic countries. Demand for Shariahcompliant investing solutions and interest in the equity markets of Islamic countries have increased over the past several years. The S&P/OIC COMCEC 50 Shariah is unique in that it encapsulates in one index the performance of Shariah-compliant stocks from Islamic countries located throughout the world.” Ibrahim M. Turhan, OIC Member States’ Stock Exchanges Forum Chairman, and Chairman and CEO of the Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE) added: “I believe that the S&P/OIC COMCEC 50 Shariah Index will fill a principal gap; since so far, there have been only a few measures to gauge the performance of Shariah-compliant companies. This new index is a product of the collective efforts of our colleagues in the OIC Member States’ Stock Exchanges Forum and S&P Indices, and I would like to express my gratitude to my associates for their valuable contributions. Through the S&P/OIC COMCEC 50 Shariah Index, we hope to contribute to the ever-increasing interest for Shariah-compliant companies while adding to the visibility of the stock exchanges of OIC countries. The Index is also important in the sense that it will offer a benchmark for a variety of financial products such as ETFs and likewise.”

ILO: Youth joblessness back at crisis peak

Geneva, Switzerland – Youth joblessness is almost back remain at the same high level,” said the ILO. at its peak following the outbreak of the global economic In its Global Employment Trends for Youth report, the crisis and is unlikely to ease until 2016, the International body suggests offering tax and other incentives to businesses Labour Organization (ILO) has warned. hiring young people and more entrepreneurship programs to The ILO said nearly 75 million youths or 12.7 percent of help youths kick-start a career. people aged 15 to 24 will be out of work this year, up from “The youth unemployment crisis can be beaten but only 12.6 percent in 2011. if job creation for young people becomes a key priority More than a quarter (27.9 percent) of youths were in policy-making and private sector investment picks unemployed in North Africa last year following the Arab up significantly,” said Executive Director of the ILO’s Spring uprisings, an increase of five percentage points from employment sector, Jose Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs. 2010. In central and south-eastern Europe, the unemployment The Middle East figure stood at 26.5 percent in the rate dropped slightly to 17.6 percent in 2011, and Latin report’s regional breakdown. The jobless total is creeping toward the 75.4 million unemployed in 2009 when the America and the Caribbean also saw a small decrease to 14.3 percent. financial crisis caused the number to soar. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the rate stood at 11.5 percent The picture is more gloomy if the millions who have put off or given up looking for a job are included: this would put compared to 13.5 percent in south-east Asia and the Pacific. “Even in East Asia, perhaps the most economically the 2011 figure at 13.6 percent. Youths opting to prolong their education will dynamic region, the unemployment rate was 2.8 times meanwhile enter the labor market in the coming higher for young people than for adults,” said the report. The statistics showed the jobs crisis tended to have a years, putting continued pressure on the jobless rate. “By 2016, the youth unemployment rate is projected to stronger impact on women in most regions. 67


ECONOMY

37th Annual Meeting of the IDB Board of Governors

Sudanese President Al Bashir chairing the meeting in Khartoum

Establishment of US$ 1 billion Islamic Mega Bank 5% of the net income to fund the technical assistance grants 2% of the net income in favor of the Bank’s merit scholarship programs First international seminar on “Youth Development” Khartoum, Sudan – The 37th Annual Meeting of for the previous financial year 2011. Concurrently, the event also saw several other important Islamic Development Bank’s Board of Governors opened in Khartoum on 3 April 2012, under the patronage and with the meetings taking place, amongst them: the 5th Annual Meeting presence of H.E. Omar Hasan Ahmed Al Bashir, President of the Board of Governors of the Islamic Solidarity Fund for of the Republic of Sudan. Nigerian Vice-President H.E. Development (ISFD); the 19th Annual Meeting of the Board Mohamed Namadi Sambo, Deputy Prime Minister of the of Governors of the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance Republic of Turkey Ali Babacan, Head of the Earth Institute of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC); the 12th General of Colombia University in US Professor Jeffry Sachs, as Assembly of the Islamic Corporation for Development of well as Ministers of Finance, Economy and Planning from the Private Sector (ICD); the 7th General Assembly of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC); 56 IDB Member Countries attended the event. In his welcoming speech, the Sudanese President called on and the Meeting of the High Councils of Al Quds and Al Muslim countries for further cooperation and collaboration in Aqsa Funds in line with the Arab Summit decision (Cairo, various economic fields in line with the enormous wealth of October 2009), which endorsed the Bank to manage the two these countries in natural resources and human potentials. He Funds. pointed out the importance of balanced development and urged Furthermore, high profile gatherings also convened to provide opportunities for all to participate in the process. alongside the event including: IDB’s “23rd Annual Several decisions were made during the meeting including: Symposium on Fostering Inclusive Development in allocation of the equivalent of 5% of the net income IDB Member Countries”; a special meeting of the “IDB expected in the current fiscal year 2012 to fund the technical African Governors’ Group on the Special Program for the assistance grants for the year 2013, and allocation of an Development of Africa (SPDA)”; a seminar on “Youth and equivalent of 2% of the net income of the current fiscal year Development: Challenges and Opportunities”; a seminar 2012 in favor of the Bank’s merit scholarship programs in on “Agro-business and Food Security”; and a seminar the form of grants over the next year, 2013. The meeting on “Financing and Opportunities Provided by the Islamic further approved the audited accounts of the Bank as well Development Bank Group with Success Stories”. In addition as the accounts of the Waqf Fund, the Awqaf Properties to a symposium on “Investment Opportunities in Sudan” Investment Fund, and those of the World Waqf Foundation attended by eight members of the Sudan’s cabinet ministers 68

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IDB, Qatar and Dallah Al-Baraka Group to establish mega Islamic bank

for industry, agriculture, electricity, oil, mines, tourism, animal wealth and investment during which the participants were briefed on great investment opportunities in the country and the newly made available facilities for investors. Also, winners of IDB prizes for “Islamic Banking and Finance”, “Women’s Contribution to Development” and “Science and Technology in IDB Member Countries” received their awards during the meeting. The Meeting further saw the signing of a tripartite agreement by the Islamic Development Bank Group, the Government of Qatar and the Dallah Al-Baraka Group for the establishment of an Islamic Mega Bank with a capital of US$ 1 billion. The total subscription of the three founders reached US$ 500 million and the founders agreed on the Qatari capital city of Doha as the headquarters of the new bank, which aims to facilitate the establishment of a financial market between Islamic banks and the creation of a market for Islamic negotiable securities. Moreover, 39 agreements on financing development projects, worth US$ 1,957 million, in 21 Member States of the IDB were signed during the meeting. Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, President IDB Group, underlined the significance of the ideas discussed during the symposiums and activities within the framework of this year’s event adding that these ideas shall contribute to enhancing the existing cooperation amongst Member Countries in the interest and wishes of the Islamic Ummah.

Group photo of participants in the IDB meeting

convened in Khartoum, Republic of Sudan, from 31 March to 4 April 2012. In his message delivered by the OIC Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs Ambassador Hameed A. Opeloyeru at the opening of the Board of Governors Meeting, the Secretary General identified four key areas of action towards addressing socio-economic transformation in the OIC Member States. In addition to the deepening of reflecting national and regional priorities, the message recommended the elaboration of regional and crossborder projects, strengthening of institutional and funding mechanisms and creation of alliances with regional institutions for joint study and implementation of projects. In addition to the steady realization of the intra-OIC trade targets of 20% by 2015, which now stands at 17.71%, giant strides have been recorded in the financing of trade, agriculture, food security and rural development, education, science and technology and the elimination of pandemics, the Secretary General stated in his statement. He also stressed that the creation of the poverty alleviation fund, which remains one of the flagship projects under the OIC Ten Year Program of Action, has made it possible to channel micro-credits to Small and Medium Enterprises, within the framework of an effective entrepreneurship program.

Ihsanoglu identified four key areas of action towards addressing socioeconomic transformation in the OIC Member States

Mega Islamic Bank with US$ 1billion capital to go on stream Ihsanoglu calls for deepening national and In the presence of H.E. President Omar Hassan Ahmad regional ownership for implementation of socio- Al Bashir, the inaugural session of the 37th Annual Meeting of IDB’s Board of Governors in Khartoum witnessed the economic projects The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic signing of a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MOU) Cooperation Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu implored for the establishment of a Mega Islamic Bank with a capital of the Islamic Development Bank Governors to consider re- one billion dollars. The MOU was signed between the State doubling efforts towards the deepening of national and of Qatar, the Islamic Development Bank and the Dallah Al regional ownership for the rapid implementation of various Baraka Group. The total underwriting of the three founders development projects in the OIC Member States at the 37th will be up to US$ 500 million. The new bank is expected to Annual Meeting of the IDB Board of Governors, which was target establishment and funding of infrastructure projects, 69


ECONOMY along with a program for standardization of products The seminar reviewed the experience of the Arab compatible with the rules of Islamic law. The proposed Agricultural Investment and Development organization bank is expected to provide attractive return to shareholders. in Sudan and the challenges that it had to face since its Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, President of the IDB Group and establishment 35 years ago. It was revealed that the challenges the official sponsor of the Mega Islamic Bank, stated that the stem from poor infrastructure and lack of arrangements to objectives of the institution was to facilitate the establishment encourage collaboration between countries with agricultural of a financial market amongst the Islamic banks and provide resources and those with financial resources. innovative solutions to manage liquidity through generation At the end of the seminar Dr. Mohamed Khair Al-Zubair, of assets and launching of an Islamic securities market. He Governor of the Central bank of Sudan stated that his country explained “the Mega Islamic Bank comes as an initiative has been nominated as one of three countries in the world of the Islamic Development Bank in its efforts to address to solve the food problem taking into account the abundant the dearth of senior financiers, the absence of the Islamic natural resources and water available. He emphasized the role tools of stock exchange and the absence of market liquidity of governments in creating suitable climate for investment between Islamic banks.”  and encouraging partnership between the governments and the private sector in the field of food production. Annual symposium emphasizes peopleYoung representatives highlight development oriented inclusive development The annual symposium on Inclusive Development held challenges at Youth Development Seminar on the occasion of the 37th Annual Meeting of the IDB With a view to continually promoting youth involvement declared that no nation could aspire to achieve balanced, in the socio-economic development of member countries, the sound and sustainable economic growth without inclusive IDB Group organized the first international seminar on “Youth development of its citizens regardless of their racial, religious, Development” on the occasion of its 37th Annual Meeting tribal and ethnic divides. The symposium also reiterated in Khartoum. The seminar witnessed two international that economic development needs to be people-oriented experts and a number of youth representatives as panelists helping to bridge the social, gender, from different parts of the world ethnic, racial and religious divides share their ideas and concerns on the challenges faced by the younger and with its benefits particularly reaching those marginalized and generation and opportunities vulnerable people in the society. open to them in today’s world. During discussions, the The experts presented their views panelists discussed major issues on “The State of the Youth in OIC and challenges faced by IDB Countries” and “Successful Models member countries in mainstreaming of Tackling Youth Unemployment”. inclusive development as well as relevant effective programs The youth panelists interacted with the experts bringing their and policies. regional, organizational and professional perspectives on these topics from their respective backgrounds in countries like Sudan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Uganda, etc.  Food security symposium raises concern The youth representatives from Pakistan and Indonesia Food Security is one of the main issues that constitute a concern for a number of member countries of the Islamic referred mainly to illiteracy and unemployment as the main Development Bank as a result of rising oil prices and other challenges ahead of the youth in their countries while the problems currently prevailing in the world”, stated Dr. Faisal representative from Uganda elaborated on his successful Hassan Ibrahim, Sudan’s Minister of Animal Resources and experience in business, which contributed to job creation for Fisheries at a high profile symposium on food security held several youth in his country. The youth representative from on the occasion of the 37th Annual Meeting of the IDB Sudan who is also the Head of the Sudanese Youth Union Board of Governors.  He urged the Governments, economic suggested an Islamic model to face the challenges of youth organizations and financial institutions in the Islamic world in today’s world.   The IDB Group has initiated a number of programs to to pay considerable interest to this area, especially after the food gap in Arab countries amounted to $ 37 billion in 2010.  facilitate development of the youth in both member and He added that the symposium was an opportunity to nonmember countries. Some of these programs such as the exchange information about the strategy of member Vocational Literacy Program (VOLIP), the US$250 million countries of IDB to seek investment in related areas. Employment Generation in Arab Member Countries program, The symposium provided ground for a discussion on funding and the SME Funds and the Education for Employment for agricultural investment and the exchange of knowledge (E4E) initiative are at various stages of implementation in among decision-makers and investors. The speakers stressed the member countries. on the need for strong political will to address the problem of The IDB Board of Governors decided to convene its food security, water scarcity, etc and emphasized that special attention need to be provided in the areas of fish farming and 38th Annual meeting in Dushanbe, Republic of Tajikistan on 21 and 22 May 2013. meat production.

economic development needs to be people-oriented

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C O U N T R Y

Islamic Republic of Pakistan Full Name: Islamic Republic of Pakistan Capital: Islamabad Population: 177,100,000 (2011 estimated) Area: 796,095 square km. Official Language: Urdu Monetary Unit: Pakistani Rupee Overview Pakistan emerged as an independent country on 14 August 1947, but it has a history of over five thousand years. The land of Pakistan has been a cradle of ancient civilizations. With welldeveloped cities, Indus Valley Civilization was contemporary of the Nile, Mesopotamian and Yellow River civilizations. Over two thousand years ago, Gandhara Buddhist Civilization flourished in northern Pakistan, with Taxila as a seat of Buddhist learning. Famous Chinese scholars, including Xuan Zang, had traveled to Taxila to study the Buddhist scriptures. These travels are celebrated in the famous Chinese novel Xi You Ji (Journey to the West). Today, the Karakoram Highway that links Pakistan and China, runs parallel to the fabled silk route of the past. Pakistan’ s Islamic heritage goes back to over a thousand years, and combines traditions of Central Asia and West Asia in its architecture, poetry and literature. The richness of Pakistan’s history, cultural traditions and heritage is matched by the diversity and beauty of Pakistan’s landscape. Geography Pakistan lies along River Indus stretching over 2000 kilometers from the freezing heights of Pamirs in the north to the balmy beaches of Arabian Sea in the south. Pakistan neighbors include China in the north, Afghanistan in the northwest, Iran in the west and India in the east. The Northern Areas of Pakistan are the meeting point of three major mountainous ranges: the Karakorams, the Himalayas, and the Hindu Kush, with some of the highest mountain peaks in the world. Every year thousands of trekkers and mountaineers from around the world visit this fascinating region. The Federal Capital of Pakistan is Islamabad, a new, modern and scenic city. Lahore is the cultural center famous for its historic monuments and is the capital of the largest province, Punjab. Karachi, the largest city with 12 million population is

a cosmopolitan port city and the capital of the Sindh Province. Peshawar is located at the southern end of the historic Khyber Pass and is the capital of the North Western Frontier Province. Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan, which is Pakistan’s largest province in area and rich in natural resources. Politics Pakistan is a Federation of four provinces and a Parliamentary democracy with multi-party system. The mainstream politics of the country as evident from the manifestoes and agenda of its major political parties is moderate and focused on economic and social development. The principles imbibed in the State Constitution emphasize social justice, welfare, equality and equal opportunity, democracy, freedom and progress. In foreign relations, Pakistan pursues a policy of seeking friendly and cooperative relations with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. Economy Pakistan is a developing country. The government attaches the highest priority to economic and social development. Agriculture sector is responsible for 25% of its economy with cotton, rice, wheat, sugarcane and maize as the major crops. Pakistan is an exporter of fruits, especially citrus, and fish and fish preparations. Industrial sector accounts for 24% of the economy. Textiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, iron and steel, building materials, cement, fertilizers, sports goods, surgical goods, and leather goods are the mainstay of the industrial sector and the country’s exports. Energy, IT and small and medium sized industries are among the fastest growing sectors in the country. Pakistan is located at the cross roads of Central Asia, South Asia and South West Asia. This is a strategic location with great potential for Pakistan to become a hub of economic activity. In addition to the available extensive rail and road network, the government is developing highways and the Gwadar Port that would serve to link up adjoining regions of Central Asia. Pakistan’s economy presents an upbeat picture of stability and growth. 71

P R O F I L E


VIEWPOINT Religion and Politics… Strange bedfellows

Ambassador Saadeddin Taib Advisor to the OIC Secretary General

Throughout history, different societies have learned, albeit at a heavy cost, that melding religion and politics produces a heady and dangerous brew. The bitter lessons learned mainly by Western countries from this amalgam remain as valid as ever. The history of religious wars in medieval Europe is rife with suffering and tragedies caused by religious bigotry and its terrible ramifications in terms of violence, death and destruction. The struggle to free European countries and governments from the strong grip of the Church is abundantly evident and needs no elaboration. No such cases have ever occurred in the land of Islam, for Islam has neither religious hierarchy nor a church. Moreover tolerance in the teaching of Islam as summarized in the Sura Al-Kaferoon “You have your own religion and I have mine”, has prevented conflicts from flaring up out of religious sentiments. In this sense, consider the case of Armenia; it is a country that was under the domain of Islamic rule and had an overwhelming Christian majority (i.e. Greek orthodox), surrounded by powerful Muslim countries like Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan. At no time in the history of 1400 years of Islam that Armenians were pressured or forced to embrace Islam. Only rarely has any adversarial relationship occurred between religion and political process in Islam’s history, and whenever it did it was solved through consultation. If human welfare is the objective of all human endeavors and if human being is the fulcrum on which rests the validity of both religion and politics, placing religion and politics in divided compartments unrelated to each other is like splitting a human being into two equal halves and expecting them to function. Every human being is a creature of an environment that is fused with religious philosophies and teachings as much as it is wired in materialism. Politics alone cannot provide answers to man’s search for self-realization or desire to give life a meaning higher than the reality of daily existence, for which he turns to religion, philosophy and spirituality. What we ought to be aiming at is not to divorce politics from religion. What we should strive for is to promote religion based universal values. In secular democracy, the governments act out of the belief that religion is a personal matter of fundamental human right, and that each person has the obligation not to profess his religion in a manner that would violate the rights of other. Religion has and will continue to have an important 72

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influence on the matter in which people think, act and behave, and we carry these influences throughout our lives and they simply cannot be washed away. The separation of the spiritual and temporal components of religious authority and political governance has been long discussed throughout human history. In Europe, the intense debate and conflict over the question of the supremacy of religion over the State were settled after a fierce and prolonged struggle, even though complete separation was not achieved everywhere. Some countries like England have a democratic system of governance with an officially established church (i.e. the Church of England). In Italy, the Church has a special status and settled the dispute between the State and the Church by creating a strong special religious entity in the form of the Vatican that also enjoys many privileges across all Latin countries. In the U.S, assistance to all religions is given indirectly through fiscal measures but separation is more complete. In France, separation between the State and religion is complete. In today’s Muslim countries, the question of separation is overshadowed, sidestepped and has never been tackled frankly, presumably because Islam had played a fundamental role in these countries; with an identity shield protecting them from the acculturation process brought about by the colonization. When we discuss the issue of religion and politics today, the word “religious fundamentalism” is becoming increasingly the lexicon of the day, not only in the media, but even in intellectual and political circles. There are many who question the relevance of the use of the word “fundamentalism” in the context of religion and politics, and the violence that we increasingly witness. But one cannot escape the need to understand why in an era when technology, scientific innovation, instant communication, shrinking planet and information revolution beckons us to a new age, those who want to go back to fundamentalism, have such great attraction for so many people, as it happens in the so-called Arab spring. Fundamentalism or basics are often considered immutable. Nobody can be opposed to such fundamentals of religion as honesty, equality, truth, tolerance, brotherhood and so on. The reality is that fundamentalism is associated with a narrow and orthodox interpretation of religion and all the prejudices that it attracts. When the world speaks about the dangers of religious fundamentalism, it is not religion or its universal values that are under attract. It is the extremism or fanaticism that is associated with them, and the narrow interpretation of religion that provoke prejudices, intolerance and conflict that pose the biggest dangers. The fundamentalists seek to be inspired from the past, in order to build for the future, and this is in itself a contradiction in term. Making the past its frame of reference is by definition a case of backward-looking outlook. Some tension between religion and politics in any society is unavoidable and is likely to persist. To contain this tension, prevent it from escalation, and to avoid the clash of civilizations, what is necessary is the tolerance of different beliefs associated with diverse religions.


Somalia

• The worst drought in 60 years • 3.7 million at risk of starvation, most of them are women and children • Famine declared in several regions, tens of thousands have died • 3 million are displaced in camps • Urgently needed interventions are: food aid, water, nutrition and medicine

Contributions to the OIC Humanitarian Campaign for Somalia may be made at the following accounts: Account Name: OIC General Secretariat Bank: SAMBA Financial Group, Al-Andalus Street, Jeddah Account Number: 5600758 IBAN: SA 29 4000 0000 0000 0560 0758 SWIFT: SAMBSARI Account Name: OIC-Humanitarian Coordination Office Somalia Bank DAHABSHIL BANK INTERNATIONAL Place Du 27 J Uin, Djibouti Account Number 101593 SWIFT Code DBISDJJ2 Corresponding Bank Noor Islamic Bank, Dubai-UAE SWIFT Code NISLAEAD Turkish Lira account Bank: Ziraat Bankası, Beşiktaş Şubesi, Istanbul Bank Branch: code (529) IBAN: TR 620001000 5295 745 740 15001 Account No: 57457401 5001 Opened in the name of: Islam Tarih Sanat ve Kultur Arastırma Merkezi (IRCICA) Turkish US$ account Bank: Ziraat Bankası, Beşiktaş Şubesi, Istanbul Bank Branch: code (529) IBAN: TR 350001000 5295 745 740 15002 Account No: 57457401 5002 Opened in the name of: Islam Tarih Sanat ve Kultur Arastırma Merkezi (IRCICA) Turkish EURO account Bank: Ziraat Bankası, Beşiktaş Şubesi, Istanbul Bank Branch: code (529) IBAN: TR 08000 1000 5295 745740 15003 Account No: 57457401 5003 Opened in the name of: Islam Tarih Sanat ve Kultur Arastırma Merkezi (IRCICA) To join the OIC Alliance to relieve Somalia: OIC Humanitarian Affairs Department (ICHAD) Focal Point: Mr. Saidi Kasajja, Email: kasaja@oic-oci.org  Telephone: 9665222-651-2-, Ext-1402. Fax: 9662288-651-2-. OIC Humanitarian Coordination Office, Somalia Focal Point: Mr. Ahmed Adam, E-Mail:  info@oic-somalia.org. Telephone: 2522800-093-.  Fax: 2520400-093-.

About OIC The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents. The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world. It endeavors to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various peoples of the world. Originally named The Organization of the Islamic Conference, it was established pursuant a decision adopted by the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, on 12th Rajab 1389 AH/ 25 September 1969 AD, following the criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem. In 1970, the first ever meeting of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Minister (ICFM) was held in Jeddah. It adopted the decision to establish a permanent secretariat in Jeddah headed by the organization's secretary general. Prof Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is the 9th Secretary General who assumed office in January 2005 after being elected by the 31st ICFM Session. The first OIC Charter was adopted by the 3rd ICFM Session held in 1972. The Charter was amended to keep pace with the developments that have unraveled recently across the world. The 11th Islamic Summit held in Dakar in March 2008 endorsed the new Charter, which has become the pillar of the OIC future Islamic action in line with the requirements of the 21st century. The new Charter provides for the dissemination and safeguard of Islamic teachings and values based on moderation and tolerance, as well as the need to strive for the projection and defense of the true image of Islam. The new Charter also called for encouraging inter-civilizational and interfaith dialogue. Over the last 40 years, the OIC membership has grown from its founding members of 30 to 57 states. In 2011 in Astana, Khazakhstan, the 38th Council of Foreign Ministers endorsed changing the emblem and name to Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The Organization has the singular honor of galvanizing the Ummah into a unified voice and representing Muslims by espousing all causes close to the hearts of over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. The Organization has consultative and cooperative relations with the UN and other inter-governmental organizations to protect the vital interests of the Muslims and to work for the settlement of conflicts and disputes involving Member States. In safeguarding the true values of Islam and Muslims, the organization has taken various steps to remove misperceptions and have strongly advocated elimination of discrimination against Muslims in all forms and manifestations. It has also engaged in fighting Islamophobia by setting up a dedicated observatory to track and monitor the phenomenon and its disturbing manifestations The Member States of the OIC face many challenges in the 21st century. To address these challenges, the 3rd Extraordinary Session of the Islamic Summit held in Makkah in December 2005, laid down a blue print called the Ten-Year Program of Action (TYPOA) which envisages joint action by the Member States, promotion of tolerance and moderation, modernization, extensive reforms in all spheres of activities including science and technology, education, and development of trade. It also emphasizes good governance and the promotion of human rights in the Muslim world, especially with regard to the children's and women's rights as well as family values enshrined in Islamic Shariah [law]. One of the outstanding achievements since the adoption of the Ten-Year Programme of Action (TYPOA) has been the recent reinvigoration and restructuring of the various OIC bodies. Among the OIC's key bodies the Islamic Summit, the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), the General Secretariat, in addition to the Al-Quds Committee chaired by the king of the Kingdom of Morocco, as Al-Quds remains the paramount issue on the OIC's agenda, and three permanent committees, one of which is concerned with science and technology (COMSTECH) that is chaired by the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the second committee is concerned with economy and trade (COMCEC) which is chaired by the President of the Republic of Turkey, while the third one is concerned with information and culture (COMIAC) which is chaired by the President of Senegal. The OIC has subsidiary organs, notably Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for the Islamic Countries (SESRIC), the Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) and the Islamic Center for the development of Trade (ICDT). Other specialized organs operating under the OIC include the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO). There are also affiliated organs such as the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and the Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS). The OIC subsidiary, affiliated and specialized organs play a vital role in boosting cooperation in various fields among the OIC Member States. For more details, visit the OIC website at www.oic-oci.org


OIC Journal - Issue 21 English  

The Organisation Of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations which has membe...

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